Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:19-24
God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has made his home with me. I would say that my awakening dates back to June 24th 1988. I was 10 years old. It was then that I told Jesus that I’d follow him. Now I am 32 years old.
Last night I was thinking about my life as a teenager. Back then I fervently followed Jesus. But there was a time where I fell into sin and was a slave to it. I had to be born again yet again. I don’t mean that I somehow fell out of God’s favor or that I lost my salvation. But that sin, that which I was a slave to, had to die. Only when it died, was I set free and given new life in that area. What I do mean is that not all parts of me are new. But I am being made new.
Slowly and surely, if we are in Christ, we are being made new. Things in us, habits, dispositions, temperments, sins–they have to die. If God were to excise all the death in us at once it’d be too much, too much for us. We couldn’t take the pain. We couldn’t learn all those lessons at once. So he does it little by little. One good thing about the wilderness is that in it we discover who we really are. That includes discovering things in us that we never saw previously. Things in us that have to die. We need to be born again, again. Wilderness suffering and difficulties are the fires that force our soul’s dross, our soul’s impurities, to the surface.
Impurities have been bubbling up in my life recently. Years ago, I wouldn’t have had eyes to see them. Back then, I was blind to those impurities that are now surfacing. And to think that back then I thought myself a saint. Ha! God laughs a loving fatherly laugh. How immature and proud I was, and still am. I have to be born again in certain areas today.
Last night God gave me a glimpse of myself, of how much I am not like Jesus. I am painful to look at. And I realize I can do nothing, really nothing to change myself. I have to admit who I am. I have to call it all what it is–sin. That is confession. I have to repent and trust God to cleanse me from all of my sin (I John 1:9). I need the support from my brothers and sisters in the community to encourage me in my pursuit of Jesus. I have to abide in Jesus (John 15:5). It is God who cleanses me, the home he has come to dwell in.
As I am born again, yet again today, God is making a home for himself. I pray he can feel more at home in you and in his body the Church, too.