“If God dwells inside us like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting.” – Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey (SNL)
Sometimes I wonder if the world understands the implications of Christian claims more than Christians. We say that God lives inside of us. We are biological temples of our Creator. As children, we are encouraged to ask Jesus into our hearts, and we embrace the concept without question.
But if we truly believe that, why do we act as if we are alone?
We still invite the Holy Spirit to our worship services as if he is hovering somewhere outside the sanctuary. Why tend to pray outward, raising our hands toward the sky. We talk about the day when we will escape this world and finally see him face to face, as if spirit to spirit is so muted and vague, that the indwelling Christ becomes little more than a “still small voice,” a subtle urging for us to get back on track in our devotions, or witness to that unconverted friend. If nothing else, it is our backstage pass to heaven.
Imagine you are Wolverine. You wake up in the adamantium smelting room in the dam at Alkali Lake (yes, I used Wikipedia), and Dr. Stryker explains that your natural bones have all been replaced by an indestructible metal. You take a second to absorb the information, then say, “Well, I’d better limit my salt intake.”
Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home, I was taught that being a temple of the Holy Spirit meant limiting my sin intake—no cigarettes, no secular music, no R-rated movies, no swearing. Definitely no Bud Lite. However, despite some of the absurdity of Christian culture, there is something valid there. If I believe that the Spirit of God is actually inside of me, joined with me in some mystical union of spirits (I Cor. 6:17), would I really pursue some of the secret sins that I pursue?
In John 14:10, Jesus makes the ultimate sci-fi claim: “The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me and does his work through me.”
Uh . . . Jesus was a host body for his Father? When was that flannelgraph lesson? But if you think about it, this was exactly what we learned in Sunday School when we were invited to becomes host bodies for Jesus. In a sense, when we look at Jesus we should see what this sci-fi existence was meant to look like. And we all know that the life of Christ was not typified by what he didn’t do, but by what he did do.
Here are some of the implications that immediately come to mind:
- Hope. If the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in my body (Rom. 8:11), I have no excuse for worry, fear or hopelessness. In fact, if I really believe that God lives in me, worry can be regarded as a form of insanity, even in the midst of great pain or chaos.
- Change. I should not be able to live an entire life in mystical union with God without some sort of change. Here is the way I see it—God demands holiness, puts a Holy Spirit inside of me, then . . . I keep trying to do it on my own? More insanity.
- Power. God has a lot of work to do in this world, and he prefers to do it through his people. Literally. In his authority and power, God wants to “open blind eyes, and bring prisoners from their dark dungeons” (Is. 42:7). When he sent his disciples into the world, he said “I will be with you always.” To put it simply and redundantly, God’s work should be God’s work.
There are many more implications, but this post is getting long, and I’d like to hear your thoughts. How has sci-fi Christianity made an impact on your life? How should it?