In Galatians 2:20, St. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Do we as Christians really believe that Christ lives in us, and more importantly, do we live our lives as if God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is present in us?
Imagine if Jesus were physically at your side 24/7. Would his presence not have an impact on what you say, do, and how you react to the people and circumstances in your life? One of the great benefits would be that in every kind of circumstance you could ask, “What do you want me to do now, Lord?”
Think of having the Lord’s ever-present counsel in how to respond to a difficult colleague at work, a child in need of discipline, a friend who needs someone to talk to, the morality of a certain business practice, the need to reconcile with someone you have offended, and all the myriad of life’s daily challenges.
This is exactly what God offers us when he says, “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20) Eating together is a sign of being together and sharing life. John’s Gospel affirms this reality when Jesus says that he will not leave us as orphans, but will live in us and that he and the Father will make their home in us. (John 14:15-24)
Three times, St Paul speaks of this in terms of our being “the temple of the living God” and “the temple of the Holy Spirit that is in you.” (2 Co. 6:16, 19; 1 Co. 3:16) In other words, we are the place where God dwells.
God’s plan for his creation is to dwell in us through his son, Jesus Christ, so that we, with the power of the Holy Spirit, can partner with God in bringing his presence to the people and circumstances of our lives.
Yesterday we were at a Christian gathering where several teenagers were being sent on a mission trip for a couple of weeks. One of them was our grandson, Max. As people gathered to pray with them, I found myself at the back of the crowd. I asked the Lord if I should push my way through the crowd so I could put my hand on Max’s shoulder, and I thought the Lord said yes. I pushed my way through the crowd so I was standing directly behind Max and put a firm hand on his shoulder. As the prayers were concluded, Max turned around to see whose hand was on his shoulder and saw that it was me, his grandfather. With big smiles, we gave each other a big bear hug — a small thing, perhaps, but hopefully an encouragement to Max.
God, who dwells in us, wants us to come to him with all our decisions, small and large. Like all endeavors, practice makes it better. Our goal should be to make it a habit. Jesus says, “I am with you always.” Paul says, “The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations…is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:26-27)