During the Advent Season, as we meditate on the coming of Christ into our world, I would like to share some thoughts concerning “Incarnational Reality.” The truth contained in this phrase became real in my heart through the teaching of Leanne Payne. It made a significant impact in how I viewed my relationship to God. Colossians 1:27 declares that Christ is “in” us as the hope of glory. Jesus declared, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20). What this means is that God, who is ultimate , concrete reality, live in you. Payne puts it this way, “Christ descends to us and into us. He incarnates us. We are indwelt, in godded.” It is that simple and profound.
After all these years I live in the awareness of this truth. But at first, I had to do some major shifting in my thinking. I simply was not aware of this truth in my walk with God. I would simply have to ponder this truth, while letting it “sink” into my heart. To help me, I would put my hand on my heart and just confess in faith that Christ’s presence indwelt within me at my deepest place. If you have a hard time with this reality, I encourage you to make this a habit in your walk with God. It can be hard for us as men to get this truth, because we are so habituated to stay in our head. In doing so we usually think of God “out there.” But when we visualize our heart, we are focused on what is “inside.”
This is the great truth of the incarnation; what we celebrate at Christmas. God has become flesh in the form of the infant Son of God. C. S. Lewis called this “transposition.” The greater coming down into the lesser. Payne observes, “Incarnational Reality has to do with the embodiment of spiritual reality in material form: God in union with man.” God does not dispise matter. He has indwelt it, making it hallowed. “The incarnation has forever hallowed the flesh.” C. S. Lewis said, “If the whole man is offered to God, all disputes about the value of this or that faculty is, as it were, henceforward out of date.” So, men, any fear or hatred we have of our body, imagination, intellect or any other part of ourselves is not of God. We are indwelt by God. Yes, we are flawed, but God dwells within that which is flawed. God is not surprised at what he sees in you. He sees beyond the flaws to who you are in Christ.
Listen to how Augustine visualized his journey in coming to understand the presence of God in his life. “You were waiting within me while I went outside me, looking for you there, misshaping myself as I flung myself upon the shapely things you made. You were with me all the while I was not with you, kept from you by things that could not be except by being in you.” So, men, God waits ever calling us home to himself. This voice comes from within, at the deepest place. This is the voice of the beloved calling us home. Remember we are not being narcissistic, looking into our old self, but rather listening to the voice of God coming from the center of our true self in Christ. It is again a matter of listening and becoming aware of what is already there.
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