"The Promise of Presence"
It is a blessed thing to remember God's presence with ourselves. It is also blessed to affirm His presence in the hearts and lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:3-6).
Many years ago, I looked out on a congregation at a local retirement community where we conduct services. Most of the folks were in wheelchairs, and some were clearly not in good physical health. A thought, however, occurred to me: "I look upon temples of the living God." The contemplation overwhelmed me then, as it does now. Believers are not merely human beings, but rather human beings inhabited by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We may not look like it, and we don't always speak, act, or relate to each other as if Christ dwells in us. But He does, and we must view "the good work" of which the Apostle Paul writes no less about fellow Christians than we do ourselves.
Such a perspective changes much in our view of each other. We do not and cannot ignore the fact of our humanity, with both its appeal and its challenge. However, we also seek to remember the presence of Divinity in brothers and sisters. Frequently in Paul's epistles, he acknowledges and affirms the promise of the Presence, including the Corinthians who were carnal in their walk, but nevertheless spiritually enlivened: "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in everything ye are enriched by Him" (I Corinthians 1:4-5). We do well to follow the Apostle's example in our perspective of fellow believers. Greater love, respect, and grateful regard ensues as we affirm our brothers and sisters as the spiritual dwellingplace of the living God.
I will never forget that moment when I saw through the human to the promised and fulfilled presence of the Divine. Temples of the living God. Again, the remembrance influences me to this day and this moment as I rejoice in a life lived with brothers and sisters, including yourselves, who serve as lamps of the Light that dwells in the human sanctuaries we are. The promise of the Presence includes every believer. Remembrance and affirmation of Christ in each other goes far in enabling our love for one another, and for the Father who dwells in and among the Christ-birthed "whole family of Heaven and earth" (Ephesians 3:15).
"I will dwell in them and walk in them."
(II Corinthians 6:16)
Weekly Memory Verse
The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
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