Us Christians all know it, in our minds. We try and 'be it' (be Christlike, that is) from our wills. We have mountaintop times, or times in worship, when we feel He is close...we are in His Presence.....but it is dawning on me that our minds, our wills, and even our feelings, are not the same as our hearts - this part of us that leapt to life when we met Him. At that point He took up residence in us - Spirit, Son and the Father himself.
John 14: 20 "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.....Jesus replied, "All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them."
Yes I know it, but do I experience it every day...all the time? Or do I just experience it in my 'religous' moments (ie: when I am particularly focused on things Spiritual). No I don't experience it daily - so why not? Really it has to be something I am doing wrong........
I heard some amazing teaching about Eden & living from the tree of life, rather than the tree of the knowledge of good and evil....and it is transforming my life really. Sounds dramatic but it is. The tree of life is what Jesus brings - perhaps it even represents him, but it is a tree of life (i.e. unbroken relationship with God) and a tree of Love. The other tree is a tree of knowledge - even a tree of knowledge of 'good'. The minute I start judging people and even things - whether they are good or not - I am in danger of chomping on the wrong fruit! Don't mishear me - we still need discernment - I'm not talking about that. But I am talking of this way of over-analysing everything - be it doctrine, Christian Living, ourselves, others, church, the worship, society etc. I so often do this. I will analyse the world, or the latest fad & righteously shoot it down & it leaves me feeling a bit miserable, & a bit ugly inside. Yet what I have been saying is not wrong in itself. I might have been expressing 'right' and even Godly statements - but does it bring life to my heart - discussing the right/wrong in the world?? No.
As with everything, it starts in the mind. I find myself thinking about things wrongly & it soon leads to judgements - even right ones - but judgements from the wrong tree.
The brilliant thing in all this is that I am helpless and weak and unable to change the way I think or speak, and I know it! I keep finding myself becoming locked in these negative thought patterns but now I am developing an inner sense of warning at such times. Perhaps an inner awareness of this spirit who dwells within, warning me. The minute I feel it I cry out for help - and so far, every time He has helped. Often in practical ways - rescuing me from situations or thoughts by providing something external or internal that diverts me into other ways of thinking or acting. It is brilliant!!! And the minute something happens that diverts me, I feel this inner peace restored, this inner life welling up. Too many examples to cite but they are there and they are real.
At its simplest it is called 'walking by the spirit' and is nothing new....but oh...it is dawning on me that truly He is within.
Many warn against too much introspection, but what if, when we look inside our hearts, we look deeper than our problems & 'us' bits. I can get stuck on the 'me bits' & so then try my hardest to look outwards because I don't like what I see within...then I end up serving & doing the 'right things' but it is all through self-effort and inside I am dying for I know the pain and brokenness is simply being covered up by activity. And if the activity happens to go well, then pride sneaks up for I know that I have done good. Bad fruit.
But what if I do look within and keep looking beyond the 'me bits'? I look with eyes of faith, knowing He has promised to be in my heart....and to my amazement (ah....my unbelief on days!!) I am finding him there. It is wonderful. I am meeting Him there...sometimes He might point to a bit of what's inside and work on it to change it - but more often I just see His eyes of Love and He leads me to places of healing...often at the cross....but to other places too.....biblical places that I am seeing with new eyes.
So this introspection leads not to 'woe is me', but to Him and to healing. It doesn't have to take long, or even involve others - just one touch from Him can heal....and then of course, because He is Love and He is giving, almost without trying I find myself looking to give to others....looking outwards.....and it does not lead to pride for I know it is nothing to do with me or my effort, but just down to his everlasting love and grace. Good fruit!
Perhaps this is a bit of the practical outworking of what October's 'City of Gold' blog was about.