Saturday, April 9, 2011


Now that you’re here, stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths.

Turn off the TV.
Ask the dog to stop barking.
Quiet your mind a little.

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

Now, hear this truth.

It’s all over the New Testament.
It’s beyond-description incredible.
It will take your breath away when you see it clearly.

God lives in you.

Say it to yourself.
God lives in me.

If you are forgiven in Christ and born again, this is true of you, because the Spirit of God dwells inside of you.

It’s not optional, temporary, or only for the especially dedicated followers of Jesus. Every single person who has Christ has the Holy Spirit.

And while the pantheistic mantra, “God is in all of us” is a lie, the biblical statement that “God is in every believer” is entirely true.

I remember getting a very distorted but clear vision of what this means one day in college. As a Religious Studies major, I was in a class on shamanism - a type of religion centered around unique individuals who control spirits by being possessed and empowered by them.

We were watching video of a Korean shaman going through the ordeal. It was shocking. The quiet, soft-spoken little woman immediately took on all the characteristics (voice, accent, attitude, posture) of the possessing spirit.

She had become the voluntary but entirely impotent vehicle through which that spirit was physically present in the world - speaking, commanding, moving, advising, rebuking.

I remember how vividly it occurred to me in a flash that I was watching a disturbing caricature of the Christian life.

She was filled and overpowered by the spirit which had entered her. She’d allowed it. But once possessed, she was no longer herself. The spirit did what it wanted, and left only when it was ready.

The similarities are striking, as are the differences.

As Christians, we also open ourselves up to the Spirit of God and ask/allow Him to “possess” us. The Spirit acts through us, speaks through us, and lives in this world through us.

However, unlike the shaman, we will never be overwhelmed by or powerless in the hands of our Lord. God Almighty will never override or overpower our own will. The Bible assures us that we always have complete dominion over ourselves.

This is obviously a great privilege.
And a great responsibility.

Because He will never force anything, we must allow Him to live, speak, and operate through us.

If we do not, He will not.

I’ve always liked the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) question as a guide to what we ourselves should strive to do.

But this week it occurred to me that an even more relevant question for followers of Christ would be WWGMD (What Would God-in-Me Do?).

That is where the Christian life is truly lived.
It’s not about trying really hard (although the will is involved).
Instead, it’s about releasing ourselves to and cooperating fully with God-in-Us.

When we are entirely ourselves yet perfectly supple in the hands of the Holy Spirit the world around us will change.