In a December post, I told you about a friend of mine who made a bunch of homemade Christmas cookies for prison inmates. That whole scenario got me thinking…
But before I go there, allow me to summarize (in a clearly abbreviated way) what it appears to me was God’s plan for living “with” us. (at least according to my little brain reading my Big Bible):
- God creates Adam and Eve. God spends time with them in the garden. They clearly communicate and have a relationship.
- Just a few short chapters in, we botch that and are banished from said garden. God is not happy yet isn’t quite ready to completely wipe us off the face of the earth (…yet!). But God is holy and can’t hang out with that mess.
- Pretty much from that point on through the whole Old Testament, we read a story about a God who is trying to “get back” into fellowship with his people. He manifests himself through angelic visitations. He serves as a pillar of smoke and fire. He sets up rules so that the best of the worst can approach his presence on behalf of the whole group. I think, God did all these things, and basically finally came to this (be forewarned, using artistic license here): As much as I try to reach these people I’ve created, I just can’t quite get through to them without “skin on.” They need my presence not only among them but with them.
- So He sent Jesus.
- And Jesus lived on the earth for 33 years – fully God and fully man. He experienced all of the emotions, hardships and pain that you and I are familiar with. He did amazing things among people, but the most important thing he did was pretty lonely. He took on the sin that started with Adam, would eventually be yours and mine and countless lives to come. And…
- He died a death we should have died.
But the story doesn’t end there. No, because Jesus told the people, Don’t worry. I won’t leave you alone. I’ll send a helper, a comforter – the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will be WITH you – and live IN you.
So we come to part III. First, God among us. Second, the person of Jesus Christ with us. And, finally…
- God in us.
So you see, a restored relationship with God but one that comes with a responsibility. God will return again for his creation…but until that time, we are His ambassadors on this earth. He’s expecting us to treat others as He would treat them. And that’s hard, because, let’s face it, we don’t wanna! But, alas, until Jesus returns, we’re it. Looks to me like, unless He does something different, we’re the best He’s got to work with at this point.
So, I think, if God lives WITH me and IN me then it only makes sense that He would want to work THROUGH me.
So, back to the cookie post…
I like to think of it like this (not that I’m in any way good at it): one day you wake up and just feel like God wants you to make cookies for prisoners. He’s like, “Michelle, I want to make cookies for inmates today and I need your body to do it. Will you help me?” OR “Michelle, see that woman over there…I want to encourage her but I need your voice to express My thoughts. You in?” OR “Michelle, I know this won’t be easy – I’m telling you right up front, but if you’re game I will get you through it. I want to… Adopt, Live in Africa, Give Money, etc. (insert the biggest, wildest – maybe even scariest thing you can imagine here). I am able to do this through you, the question is: are you willing to let Me?”
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16