November 16, 2000

Who We Are
by Bill Volkman
Who and what do you see when you look in the mirror each day while shaving or putting on your make-up? Do you smile at yourself with feelings of self-worth and a warm awareness of being infinitely and continuously loved by God? Or do you always have a negative response, seeing yourself as flawed and inadequate in one way or another?

I grew up seeing myself as an ugly duckling. I looked into the mirror and only saw my big ears, my long nose, my sunken cheeks and my unruly hair. As a child, no one called me cute, or beautiful or handsome. In spite of many degrees and accomplishments, I just “existed” for many years, with unrecognized, negative feelings of my personal worth. How is it that so many Christians spend so many years with flawed personalities that never seem to be adequately healed?

For me, one of the most important events in the Bible was the rending of the veil in the temple while Jesus was on the Cross. For centuries the visible presence of the Spirit of God was behind that veil, hovering over the Ark of the Covenant. That room was God’s only earthly residence.

But some days after the crucifixion, on Pentecost, God established a new residence for His Spirit: the hearts of all faith-persons. So the good news is that since we are believers -- faith-persons -- the Spirit of Christ has taken up full-time residence in our hearts. The bad news is that our awareness of His life-transforming presence and our oneness with Him is so sporadic and fleeting.

Paul concludes his second letter to the Corinthians with this clear-cut challenge: “Recognize that Jesus Christ is in you.” It seems to me that Paul is saying in this passage that recognition and awareness of Christ’s inner presence is a most important step in our experiencing a vibrant faith walk.

How then can we increase our awareness of this awesome truth and reality that Jesus Christ lives in us? My answer is unqualified: “Be still and know that He is God.” Take time daily to be with your inner Guest! We don’t need more religion; we need more inner relationship. So take a few minutes a couple of times a day to practice the life-transforming prayer of silence. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him where He lives -- within us.

All I know is that now when I shave I look in the mirror and smile. Frequently, I say to myself, or even out loud, “Good morning, handsome!” And then I hear an echo answer right back: “Good morning, handsome!”