While our niece and husband were visiting from California, we invited our family for a picnic. We had a wonderful time together. As people left, they thanked us for hosting the evening. We felt hosting was our privilege. We were thrilled to be with family.
I know how to host a family picnic. I prepare a meal and welcome people into our home. However, hosting something or someone can have a spiritual as well as a physical application.
I want to explore the meaning of hosting the Holy Spirit. Bill Johnson describes hosting His presence as carrying the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Johnson has written a book entitled Hosting the Presence and often speaks on this topic. He highlights Jesus as our example of what it means to host the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist water baptized Jesus. Matthew 3:16-17 says, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!’” When the Spirit descended upon Him and took up residence, Jesus became the host.
In John 5:19 NKJV Jesus says, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” Jesus was able to do what the Father did because He was carrying the Spirit’s anointing.
In John 15:5 NKJV, Jesus goes on to say, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Johnson points out that just as Jesus had to host the Presence to do what the Father did, we must host the Spirit’s presence if we are to do what the Lord desires us to do.
Jesus informs us in John 14:16 NKJV, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” Our Helper is the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” The Holy Spirit resides in us. That means we host Him, or carry His anointing.
Paul says in Colossians 1:9, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.” This knowledge is imparted to us when we host the Spirit’s presence.
Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer asking for the Holy Spirit’s power to fill every believer. Or, we can say for every believer to host the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for the Ephesians, and us, “to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” He continues in verses 16 and 17, “I ask that out of the riches of His glory He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” According to a note in the Spirit Filled Life Bible, to be strengthened with His might literally means to become mighty by His power.
Graham Cooke is another author and speaker who refers to hosting the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Cooke says that our responsibility of hosting His presence is to fulfill the prayer Jesus taught His disciples. In Matthew 6:10 Jesus prays, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we host His presence, we bring heaven to earth. Cooke says we must live from heaven to earth if we are to fully glorify God.
In Luke 4:18 NKJV, Jesus declares, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” When we host the Spirit of the Lord, He is upon us just as He was upon Jesus. This verse emphasizes specific ministries we will be privileged to carry out when we carry the Spirit’s presence.
We also host His presence through praise and worship. Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. We can encounter the Lord when we praise Him during personal quiet times. David says in Psalm 16:11, “You (the Lord) make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” We can also experience His presence through praise and worship with other believers. The Lord says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.“
I want to conclude with a couple more comments by Cooke and Johnson.
In Coming into Alignment, Graham Cooke quotes Exodus 33:14 where God promises, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Cooke encourages us to practice hosting His presence and invest our heart in Him. He says, “Stop pursuing the presence of God and start hosting Him!”
In The Resting Place, Bill Johnson writes, “There is no greater privilege than being a host to God Himself. Neither is there a greater responsibility.” He concludes his book saying, “We have been chosen to be His external dwelling place. We have been chosen to host His Presence.”