The feeling in my stomach was an unpleasant one. Out of the blue and without any warning, I had contracted some kind of stomach bug. Thankfully, this bug only besieged me with a low grade fever, stomach cramps, and loss of appetite. It lasted 24 hours or so. Today, I’m on the mend. I deplore being ill; especially when being sick denies me of doing something like it did last night. I didn’t feel up to skyping with my parents. We can reschedule, but it was still a bummer.
When I arose this morning, the first questions I answered from my family centered upon my health. Was I any better? Thankfully, I could answer in the affirmative.
I was consciously aware that my body was feeling better. How did I know? Well, my tactile sensory system communicated that my temperature levels were back to normal, the painful stomach cramps of the day before were gone, and my appetite and energy levels had improved.
First, my body provided signals of illness.
Now, my body sent me normal signs of good health.
In this situation, my body told me something was wrong and I was able to slow down, get some rest, and improve.
When cancer struck my body nearly two years ago, I didn’t have any such warning signals. There was no temperature change. There was no cramping. There was no loss of appetite. My energy levels were great. I didn’t feel any different. I had no clue that aggressive cancer cells were growing inside of me. It took a mammogram and ultrasound to signal the presence of cancer. It took a biopsy and blood tests to verify it. Then, it took surgery, radiation treatments, good diet and exercise, lots of rest, lots of care, and generous-life giving prayers to help me heal.
I have determined that there are times that my body can tell me that I’m sick. There are also times when I may miss its signals altogether. Or, I may not even know that these signals exist at all.
I have learned that I cannot rely on the feelings inside of my body all of the time.
This is an important truth to remember as a follower of Christ as well. Our faith life and its good health are not dependent upon feelings. Feelings are dependent upon the conditions, sensations, thoughts, and emotions of a particular time or place.
We have been given an incredible gift in Christ that transcends all feelings and sensations.
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” New International Version, Colossians 1:27.
The false teachers who were leading the Colossian church at the time believed that spiritual perfection and spiritual insights were a secret that only a select few could discover or feel. Before Christ, the mystery of salvation was kept hidden; but, not any more. In Christ, God’s secret plan was revealed.
Jesus Christ, God’s secret plan, came to all who would seek Him: “Christ in you, the hope and glory.” Our God determined long ago to have his Son, Jesus Christ, live in the hearts and souls of all who would believe in Him. The hope and glory of Christ was not a secret. Nor was it a feeling or sensation to surface at times or to be kept hidden at other times. Jesus Christ had come to dwell in a believer’s soul for eternity.
Jesus Christ does not lurch inside of us like a stomach bug. However, Jesus Christ does not grow inside of us without notice either. His presence transcends every kind of feeling or sensation.
Why is it then that some people live like following Christ is something to endure like a stomach bug? They fail to embrace His hope.
Why is it then that some people live like following Christ is something to be kept hidden and secret? They fail to experience His glory and power.
Why is it then that some people who profess to know Christ, fail to acknowledge that He lives in their hearts? Their lives show no joy, love, or transcendence.
I can only provide a hypothesis. If some one’s life, who has chosen to believe and trust in Jesus, does not radiate the love, joy, peace, and blessing of Christ in their lives, then something has gone awry. I think it comes down to feelings.
If some one doesn’t feel Christ’s presence, doesn’t feel Christ’s blessing, doesn’t feel Christ’s protection and care, doesn’t feel Christ’s love, doesn’t feel Christ’s faithfulness, or doesn’t feel Christ’s peace and control, and feels dependent upon those feelings for his/her security in Christ, then their emotions, decisions, and lives are influenced not by Christ, but by their moment-in-time, place-driven, and circumstance-filtered feelings.
Friends, the word of God speaks this amazing truth: Jesus Christ is in us. His hope and glory dwell inside of us, too.
What a difference in this world we would make if we acknowledged this truth!
Our God wants to connect His heart with our own hearts.
What would it take to align our heart and soul with our God?
It begins with us letting go of our feelings, our thoughts, and our pattern of living and shifting an aligning our emotions, thoughts, and sensitivities to Christ and His purposes.
God revealed his hidden and mysterious plan once and for all in Jesus Christ: Christ in you, the hope and glory!
Let’s live like it! He’s not lurching inside of us like a stomach bug. He’s not hidden or silent either. He’s just waiting for us to align our hearts with His heart and share His hope and glory with every people group, every nation, and an entire world which need Him.