Day 36: May the force be with you
Living in a flesh and blood world, laboring each day, conscious of our health, finances, and more—naturally results in a “this world” focus. Jesus, while on earth, was very immersed in the physical world. And yet, reading the Gospels leaves a person with the sense that he was also deeply connected to something bigger.
Are we Spiritual OR Physical, or Spiritual AND Physical?
I go through phases of healthy living. Phases. Not indulging in Ice Cream and every other carbohydrate God created. Exercising. I am amazed at the amount of time and energy I need to commit to this area of my life. If I don’t, I find that I become the ever-expanding man.
I wonder, “What about the “rest of me?” I desire to live an integrated life. Is that merely juggling 5 or 6 areas, or is there an ordering priority for me?
Yesterday I included a reference to “The Force” and “Yoda” from the Star Wars movies. Why? Yesterday we heard Jesus introduce the concept of him sending a “Helper, even the Spirit of Truth”.
Jesus is talking about what Christians call the Third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit.
We encounter God in the Bible as Three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet we also encounter God as One. Much ink has been spilt as theologians try to fully describe this mystery.
Let’s not get too tangled up, but can we be clear? The Holy Spirit isn’t the Stars Wars Force.
These are Jesus’ final hours. He is teaching. Teaching his closest followers. He needs them to know he is not abandoning them. In fact, he needs them to know that this is all part of God’s plan, and when this plan is finished, they, his followers, will actually be better off.
Imagine that. Jesus is saying that going to his death will leave followers being better off.
Saint John, the writer of this Gospel, has committed a great deal of literary space to chapters 14 through 18. Why? Because Jesus’ teachings are key to us understanding how we can live as his followers. And by how we live, I don’t mean just how we’re going to juggle everything, but having an ordering priority.
It is also why I have spent so many days slowly going through John Chapter 14. So far we have read about different pieces of what I am calling one-ness. All of this is built upon the idea that we really are spiritual beings.
Here is the exact situation that Jesus has presented. That after he, Jesus, goes to the Father, the Father will send the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to each person who believes in Jesus. That this Holy Spirit will literally dwell in each of us (verse 17). He says that if anyone of us “love” him, that “we will come and make our home in him” (verse 21). By my way of thinking, the “we” is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This is radical stuff! We, spiritual beings, will have the Living God of the world inside of us. Not for our greatness. No, for his. Like Jesus, we will be about the Father’s agenda. Like Jesus, we will love the Father so much that we will willingly obey.
Maybe you have met a Christian or two, maybe you have met me, and are now thinking—“I have met some pretty selfish Christians.” Yup. We are a “work-in-progress”. Just like I struggle to love my wife. Just like I choose myself over her. I choose myself over Jesus.
There is no hocus-pocus in any of this. Quite simply, Jesus is saying, this is what is on offer to those who believe in him, and seek to follow.