Under Your Skin

MirrorInsideBeing a middle-aged bald man, I’m not a big fan of mirrors. But this one really creeps me out.

It is a 3D mirror, unveiled in late April at the Computer-Human Interaction Conference in Toronto. Xavier Maître, a medical researcher at a Paris university, married medical imaging technology (PET, X-ray and MRI scans) with Microsoft’s Kinect motion capturing camera.

What he created was a fully animated version of you without your skin on!

“It’s as if you’re inside your body. You’re discovering something that belongs to you,” says Maître.

Most people who stepped in front of it simply discovered that they didn’t care much for what they saw inside.

I admit, though, this did make me wish I had a mirror that could really show me what is under my skin. Or more accurately, Who is under my skin.

In His final moments with those He held closely, Jesus made this promise about the coming of the Spirit of Truth: “…you recognize Him, for He is with you now and will be in your hearts. I am not going to leave you alone in the world—I am coming to you.(John 14:17b-18)

Jesus was promising that His very Spirit–the actual presence of God which animated His entire life and ministry–was going to live in us.

Under your skin!

This intimate forecast was really intended to reveal how our lives would become like His. Not through our effort, good works, legalistic rule-keeping or personal holiness. It would only happen when His Spirit literally took up residence in ours–individually and collectively.

We become the Temple, the house–no, the home–for the Spirit of Jesus. That is what we are, NOW.

When we recognize and respond to the finished work of Christ on the cross, a new tenant takes up residence within us. We are no longer driven by our alienation from the Father or our separation from His original intent for us. We now are containers–though cracked ones–of the treasure of His living Spirit.

Our hearts beat with His. No wonder Paul exults about Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Jesus temporarily put on skin so He could permanently live in yours.

But I’ve been musing a bit on how little this union with Christ is really explored among contemporary Christians. It was an obsession of theological thinking for millennia before this one.

It seems so strange that the Christian streams that preach and profess the most intimacy with God too often propagates the myth of distance.

It appears we are always begging for Him to “come”; “fill us”; “draw near” and “inhabit us”. While I understand the words as sincere prayers asking for more of Jesus, the fact is we can have no more of Him. There is no limitation of His presence, no partial filling, no “I’ll live in these rooms, but not those” habitation.

He entirely dwells in us.

He is in you…all of Him in all of you.

But there is something we can seek and for which we can yearn. A greater, fuller, deeper awareness of this Life in us.

Whenever I live according to the values of this world–making choices based on what is in vogue or allowing my heart to chase after what is obviously not in God’s plan–one thing is clear. I do not realize in those moments that I am a carrier of Jesus’ life–a home of His Spirit.

Paul left no doubt about this: “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:6)

He doesn’t leave me in those moments when my awareness fades. There is no evacuation or vacancy. He is no less in me then than in moments where I am fully captivated by love for Him.

But at those times of compromise and failure, I am living with a dulled awareness of both the reality and efficacy of His Spirit in me. I go numb to His closeness. The anesthetics of modern culture immobilize my ability to sense and react to this intimate life within. The “still small voice” inside gets drowned out by the incessant blaring noise of the world I have allowed to capture my attention.

Thankfully, He stays. He waits. He whispers. And ultimately, in love, He gets my attention again.

It grieves me to know some of the places I’ve dragged Him into; some of the things I’ve made Him live through and some of the agony I’ve made Him experience. He has lived in me through moments that offended His deepest sensibilities and violated His beautiful holiness.

Exactly as it did when He was on the cross. And that is ultimately why He hung there.

His living presence in me…and in you…brings us back to center and carries us through the fog until we have a clearer understanding of His presence in us and our position in Him.

Paul reminded us that we would live with this constant contradiction and lasting hope: “At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God now knows me!” (1 Corinthians 13:12, Phillips)

This is truly our greatest hope.

Jesus gets under your skin!

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