March 12 – Big Jim

March 12 – Big Jim

1 Corinthians 6:19

“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

The old me could do good things. Bad people often do good. Cornelius did; Acts 10:2 calls him a devout man who feared God, did charitable deeds, and prayed. But he didn’t have a new nature that comes with knowing Christ. An unconverted mother who dashes into a burning home to rescue her infant does a good thing. The problem is, she can’t consistently choose good. Without Jesus she doesn’t have the capability. Her jailer, sin, won’t let her. In fact, she probably doesn’t even know what good is – most of the time, and even if she does, she usually doesn’t want it. Why? Because the old, unredeemed nature craves the things of the flesh, not the things of the Spirit.

The new me can choose to do wrong, but I don’t have to. Because of my new nature in Christ, I now know what’s right, especially as my mind is informed by the Word and sensitized by the Spirit. Furthermore, my desires have been reprogrammed; I like the good, at least most of the time. But best of all, the new me has built-in capabilities to consistently choose good. All sorts of things have passed away; all kinds of things have become new! I’m a new creation, and that gives me hope. God has given me a new nature, transforming me into an altogether new kind of being.

As a fifth-grader, I was spending my recess at war—a water-gun battle with my best friend. As he ran from my barrage, Big Jim, the school bully, walked between us and caught the full force of a stream of water on the side of his head. Big Jim was about twice my size and could easily have bent me into a pretzel with his bare hands. Instead, he reached into his boot and pulled out a switchblade knife. I was reputed to be the fastest kid in school, and that day I proved it. Round and round the schoolyard we went. Finally the bell rang, and I shot through the door.

I knew that wasn’t the end of it, so after school I didn’t dash out the front door as was my custom but surveyed the prospects from a second-floor window. Sure enough, there stood Jim by the front gate. I eluded him by going out the back door and crossing neighborhood fences to reach the safety of home. But he caught on, so I had to plan new strategies. When I ran out of ideas, I resorted to staying at school until Jim had gone home.

Finally, after school one day as I forlornly wandered the darkened corridors, I glanced out to see my father walking down the sidewalk in the direction of home. Down the stairs and out the side door I shot, warmly greeting a bemused dad. Then, hand in hand, we walked past the waiting sentinel, who looked a bit nonplussed. I greeted him with studied nonchalance, “Hi, Jim!”

And so it is with us. The Big Jims of our lives are legion, the bully-sins that stalk us day and night. But Daddy is with us! No, not with us—in us! God doesn’t just forgive our sins, declare us just, rearrange our thinking apparatus, reprogram our core being, and send us all kinds of blessings UPS, all the while keeping his distance. No, He comes in person to live inside us.

Does the Spirit literally reside inside your body? How about Christ—does He live in there too? And the Father? It’s a mystery, isn’t it? Nevertheless, Scripture teaches that God comes to reside in you, making you His intimate companion. Amazingly, the God of the universe, the God of the ages, the God of all infinities holds out to you a personal, one-to-one, intimate relationship. Jesus prayed for his followers, “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be one in us. … May they be one as we are one” (John 17:21-22). Jesus was describing the intimate fellowship enjoyed by the Father and the Son. From the eternal love bonds that unite Father, Son, and Spirit, they invite you to join that relationship. It’s so intimate that the only way to describe it is to say that God is in you and you are in Him. Think about it: uninterrupted companionship for eternity. Wow! Let’s thank Him for that incredible gift!

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