Deep Spiritual Truths Made Simple

Spiritual Wonders, Divine Mysteries, Christian Revelation

Grantley Morris

* * *

From the moment of your spiritual birth, the unimaginable happened: you were caught up in divine mysteries of the highest order. Seemingly insignificant you entered into the most profound and mysterious union with the terrifyingly exalted, unapproachably holy Lord of the universe. You became one with the Supreme Being; the infinite God. Your fallibility was swallowed up by infallibility; your mortality gave way to immortality; your insignificance dissolved into eternal significance; your normality was divinely charged with the supernatural.

While remaining firmly rooted in biblical revelation, my goal is to convey the depth and wonder of your relationship with God in powerful ways that touch one’s heart without overtaxing the brain – taking you to new heights in your understanding and appreciation of your spiritual oneness with the divine. Then I want to provide keys for maximizing your enjoyment of this miracle.

The Basics

Picture the warmest person you have ever known. In your mind, make this person utterly selfless. Imagine this amazing person thinks the world of you and is head-over-heels in love with you. Nothing makes him/her happier than dropping everything to give you all the undivided attention you could possibly want. For this person, nothing is the slightest trouble, as long as it makes you happy.

Multiply this by infinity and that’s God. This makes him infinitely approachable.

In addition, God is holy. He is absolute perfection; as spotlessly pure as the blinding sun. This is yet another mind-bogglingly beautiful thing about God. When we begin to grasp the full implications, however, it becomes terrifying, because each of us has been defiled by sin. As essential as it is for a sterilized surgeon about to operate to have standards of cleanliness far above the rest of us and he must not so much as touch an average person who to us seems quite clean, so it is with the awesomely holy God. For us, that makes God petrifyingly unapproachable.

This was not an issue before humanity sinned. Now, it is such a horrendous dilemma that it could only be rectified by a divine miracle of cataclysmic proportions. As believers, most of us realize that for intimacy with the Holy One to be restored, the eternal Lord had to swap his sinless perfection for our depravity. The spotlessly holy Son of God had all our filth poured upon him. He suffered this exhaustively until all the appalling consequences were fully expended on him. It literally killed him. Humanity’s only true Innocent endured the unthinkable because the exchange works both ways: by him getting our sin, we can get his holiness.

You in the Godhead

Through this astonishing exchange of our sin for divine sinlessness, we can enjoy a spiritual union with the Holy One so intimate that our Lord spoke of us being in him:

    John 17:21  . . . May they also be in us . . .

This concept was enthusiastically embraced by the inspired apostles:

    Acts 17:28 For in him we live and move and have our being. . . .

    2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation . . .

    1 Peter 5:14  . . . Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

More biblical examples

What place in the universe could be nearly as secure as being inside Almighty God? It would mean the Almighty would not only protect you, he would literally be your shield (Scriptures). From no matter what angle an attack came, nothing could touch you without first literally ripping through him. That being so, even if God were selfish – and he has placed you within him because he is the supreme opposite of selfishness – nothing in the universe could be more important to him than your well-being.

It is said that most people who feel sorry for themselves do so because they have no one to feel sorry for them. Even if surrounded by caring people, we can be alone in our distress because nobody truly grasps the nature of our trial. No-one who is in Christ need ever know that aloneness. Such is Christ’s love and commitment to you that nothing can even momentarily hurt you without it hurting him first, and for as long as our affliction continues, it will keep hurting him.

This does not make it impossible for anything temporarily unpleasant to ever touch someone who is in Christ, but it means your Living Shield will let nothing touch you that will not end up truly worth it. No matter how initially unpleasant, it will end up such a blessing that for all eternity you will find yourself spontaneously praising God that it happened (Romans 5:3-5; 8:28; 2 Corinthians 4:17).

One picture God’s Word uses to portray the coziness of being in the Godhead is of a bird using its body to warm and protect its young:

    Psalm 91:4

    He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge

We are all familiar with chicks in a nest lined with its parent’s feathers and shielded by the bird’s own body, but there is another picture as well:

    Matthew 23:37  . . . how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

I once saw several chicks milling around a hen. Suddenly they were startled, and in a flash they were invisible. I would never have thought they would all fit but they all shot into the hen’s feathers and under its wings and disappeared.

Being inside the Godhead is that cozy but infinitely more secure. It is more like being in his womb (Comment) but remember that we are not talking about being protected by someone who is mortal or even the slightest vulnerable. And it is not just for emergencies or when we are young; it is where we remain forever.

As heart-warming as these images are, they fail to inch beyond the merest hint of God’s might. There’s another beautiful set of inspired pictures of divine closeness and protectiveness. Two examples should suffice:

    Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. . . .

    Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart . . .

Even being lovingly and protectively held by someone much stronger than us fails to convey just how shielded God keeps us. To counter this deficiency, here’s another helpful picture:

    Psalm 91:2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress . . .”

Although still an inadequate portrayal of infinite power, picturing being in God as being in a mighty fortress provides a better sense of how safe God keeps us. Unlike our Lord, however, a fortress is cold and impersonal.

Each biblical analogy has a valuable contribution to make, and yet each, by itself, is incomplete because God is without equal. It is by combining all these analogies that we get a fuller picture. Even then, however, the result is but a fuzzy shadow of our matchless Lord.

Further Benefits

Being in Christ, the divine, has the most profound implications. For example, since God is love, to be in Christ is to be immersed in his love. No wonder the apostle Paul rejoiced in the certainty that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).

It likewise means we are totally covered by his exquisite innocence, goodness and moral perfection. There is no angle any spiritual being can look at us without seeing the matchless beauty and perfection of Christ. No wonder there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1).

To be in the Godhead is liberating, exhilarating and empowering.

Of necessity, being inside the Holy One involves being cut off from everything that is contrary to God. Be it a fortress, a high tower (Psalm 144:2), a womb, Noah’s ark, God’s Holy of holies (Hebrews 10:19), or whatever, to be inside of something is to be sealed off from the outside world. Whether that seems warm and protective or disturbingly like being imprisoned depends on whether we love the things of the world. To access the sins of the world, one cannot remain inside the Holy Lord; one must force oneself outside, leaving him behind.

Being in the Godhead also necessitates total surrender: where he goes, you go. This is no downside, however. It is one of the most thrilling aspects of being in God. Nevertheless, it is understandable that those unfamiliar with the wonders of God usually need much convincing, since they have yet to realize how much they are gaining and how trustworthy God is and how, ultimately, he is always the best and safest option.

Consider the impossible dilemma of someone who longs to fly in a plane but is so scared that he insists on always keeping one foot on the tarmac. Simply remaining fully in the plane, yielding to its superior capabilities, will achieve amazing things. Anyone could soar beyond human limitations, reaching otherwise unattainable heights, just by relaxing and trusting a plane. Note that fear is just a feeling, not a dictator. The outcome is determined not by how secure you feel but by whether you decide to surrender to the plane.

Being in Christ is similar, except for one significant difference: the scary thing about planes is that occasionally they crash. Almighty God, however, has no such frailty. God is utterly trustworthy, not merely because he is all-powerful and therefore able to give you more than you dare dream (Ephesians 3:20) but he is more devoted to your well-being than even you are. We will explore this glorious subject more a little later.

The Godhead in You

If we are in the Godhead, one would not expect the reverse to be true: that the Godhead is in us. Nevertheless, this opposite truth is equally emphasized in the Word of God. For both to be stressed shows how astonishingly complete this union is.

    John 14:17 the Spirit . . . will be in you.

    Romans 8:9-11  . . . if the Spirit of God lives in you. . . . But if Christ is in you . . . And if the Spirit . . . is living in you, he . . . through his Spirit, who lives in you.

    1 John 4:4  . . . the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

More biblical examples

I have always been a bit mystified when hearing of people wishing they could speak face to face with the risen Lord, as with a friend. To me, that image implies not a greater but a lesser closeness to Christ than we already have. Since Christ is already in me – in Tennyson’s words, “nearer than hands and feet” – I have no desire to visualize him wrenching himself away from me to be far enough away to speak with me face to face. I don’t want that degree of separation.

You in God and He in You

Of course, it is no slip that God’s Word says both that we are in God and that God is in us. In fact, it is so deliberate that there are times when the Bible puts both in the same verse, just as Jesus said in his prayer about his relationship with the Father (“. . . you are in me and I am in you. . . .” – John 17:21).

Of us, Scripture says:

    John 6:56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.

    1 John 4:13  . . . we live in him and he in us . . .

More biblical examples

In Christ, we are so entwined with the divine – so utterly interconnected with the Godhead – that not only are we in the Godhead; the Godhead is equally in us. Looked at from another perspective: not only does God come down to earth for us; he lifts us up to heaven (Scriptures). Not only have we, through Christ, been granted the matchless honor of serving the exalted Lord; he so humbles himself as to serve us (Scriptures). And this entire union was initiated by God. It is both founded on selfless love and driven by selfless love.

When Two Become One

Given the depth of our merger with the divine, it comes as no surprise that there is also reference to us being one with the Godhead:

    1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

    Ephesians 5:31-32 “ . . . and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Let’s unpack this a little. Scripture not only compares but contrasts the closest of human relationships with our union with God:

    1 Corinthians 6:16-17 For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. (Emphasis mine.)

The ultimate in being one flesh is conjoined (‘Siamese’) twins. Their lives, experiences and destinies are utterly intertwined. Even so, they remain two separate entities. A lifetime of experiences makes them superb at guessing each other’s thoughts but it is still a guess. As much as I would love to, I cannot get inside my wife’s mind.

It is impossible for two humans to have one spirit. Only if this could happen would they truly be one. Here’s why:

    1 Corinthians 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? . . .

The passage goes on to say, not merely that you and Christ can read each other’s minds, but you “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

This astonishing oneness is a miraculous restoration of the idyllic relationship with the awesomely holy Lord as it was before humanity’s sin ruined everything. Christ and you are not meant to be two separate identities, each striving for recognition, but merged in a mystical union; no clash of wills, just exquisite oneness.

This is a restoration of what humanity lost when Adam and Eve sinned. From that moment, sin entered the human gene pool, giving us not only a genetic predisposition to sin and a lost relationship with God, but a distorted perception of God.

For this to happen we must die to our own will. That is why Jesus kept emphasizing denying ourselves and “losing” our life to find it. (Scriptures). It is why Paul kept saying similar things, such as “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). More Scriptures.

There is no I in team, nor in harmony. Even non-Christians are forced by experience and logic to acknowledge the obvious. Nevertheless, dying to our own will is terrifying, unless God really is love and all he claims to be – stupendously good, super-intelligent and so on. It is scary becoming selfless and devoted to God until we realize that he is even more selfless and devoted to us than we can ever be to him. If he truly is totally committed to using his infinite powers to furthering our well-being, then nothing could be smarter than ditching our own wills and gleefully surrendering to God.

God’s plans for us are always either identical to our own, or even better. He is more committed to maximizing our own fulfillment, achievement and never-ending happiness than we are. (For more on this, see the link Enjoying God’s Will for You at the end of this page.) I’ll not kid you: there are times when God’s will is highly challenging. We need go no further than Jesus sweating blood in the garden to know that. Nevertheless, God’s will is precisely what you would have come up with, if you were smart enough to see the end result. To trade our will for his is to trade the inferior for the perfect. It is taking foolish pipedreams that end in disappointment and exchanging them for achievement that brings eternal satisfaction and honor; swapping things you will end up regretting for decisions you will forever be proud of and delighted about.

Relating to any human is frustrating because even the greatest of us is fallible. No matter how capable a human is, if ever you disagree with him, there remains the nagging possibility that this time you could be right and he is mistaken. Relating to humans is like an accountant having to use an adding machine that randomly makes the occasional error. With God alone can you finally relax, knowing that his plans are perfect. You can always safely side with him, delighting in the certainty that his decisions are always the best possible choice; the way of no regrets. Life has many uncertainties, but this is one you can cross off the list.

The Almighty wants not to crush you but empower you; not dominate you but partner with you. He wants to free you from slavery to the inferior. He wants you to be like him: good, selfless, faithful, noble, and brimming with integrity.

In this regard, I encourage you to later read all of Spiritual Secrets and the page it leads to, but for the moment, here’s just a selection:

    To take up our cross and follow Christ sounds horrific, until we discover that following Jesus takes us not only to crucifixion but to resurrection; not only to the death of self but to a gloriously new and superior life. It is only the spiritually corrupt part of us that we are asked to let die. Once that goes, we find ourselves tingling with life like never before. It’s the death of the grub so that butterfly wings might be stretched and soar heavenwards. It’s the death of the sin-addict, the groveling sin-slave, the despicable weakling – and the rising of the glorious conqueror. It’s the death of pollution and the emergence of purity; the death of lonesome self-infatuation and the release of true love.

    ‘Self’ refers to everything within us that is weak and ignorant and ugly. It is all that would ultimately darken us with shame and misery – the foolish choices that seemed a smart move at the time; the sweet things that turn sour. This, and only this, is what your loving Lord wants to die, so that a new you can burst onto the scene. Like (and through) Jesus risen from the dead, the new you will be a person brimming with life; glowing with purity, honor and a thrilling future.

    God is a giver, yet we mistake him for a taker. We each have, as it were, a treasure chest within us. We usually cram it full with such trinkets as self-righteousness, self-pity, self-promotion and bloated self-esteem. Pathetically, we horde these fake commodities, foolishly thinking them valuable. We realize they are inadequate, but they are all we have and we don’t think God would give us genuine valuables. We think the Lord asks for sacrifices, when all he wants is for us to clean out lesser things to make room for priceless treasures that would make us of infinite worth. Anyone opening up to God and pricking the balloon of his/her own importance, fills with divine importance. The new you fills with divine glory and supernatural power and majesty and joy and goodness and love and wisdom.

    By emptying ourselves, we free up space for God to cram honor, beauty and eternal riches into our lives. When we shrink our estimation of our unaided ability, we make way for more of the ability of Almighty God to come flooding in.

    Dying to self means coming to life like never before. It is trading trinkets for treasures; taking desires that end in despair and exchanging them for superior passions that produce life and fulfillment.

    And yet, when we have only known the inferior, it is so hard to even imagine the superior, that it seems an enormous sacrifice to swap our darling trinkets for things of eternal value.

Forever

Before reading this webpage you might already have had comforting and uplifting ways of visualizing or conceptualizing your relationship with God. I am not suggesting you abandon anything you find helpful. Indeed, while exploring this matter, we have touched on several of the many ways of thinking of your relationship with the divine that have the biblical seal of approval. Among those not mentioned, for example, is the Lord regularly speaking to Moses “face to face, as a man speaks with his friend,” (Exodus 33:11). Comment

Nevertheless, I suggest your repertoire include the two biblical concepts we have been examining. Why not, for the rest of your life and beyond, keep viewing yourself as being in Christ and he in you? Both of these can be somewhat visualized but I suggest also using your imagination to feel them. With a little practice, I expect you will find this a heartwarming and powerful antidote to loneliness, alienation, insecurity and fear.

Using your imagination this way is not fooling yourself. On the contrary, it is fighting the tendency of one’s mind to slip from spiritual reality. Like a blind person successfully navigating a building by picturing the layout in his mind, it is a practical way of reminding yourself of spiritual reality and of fulfilling such biblical directives as “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things,” (Colossians 3:2).

Upon reading what I said about using one’s imagination to feel, a friend lamented, “This is something I cannot do! It continually worries me that I don’t feel about the wonderful truths of Christ the way I think I should.”

I understand her dilemma. Things beyond our conscious control, such as our past, clinical depression, anxiety, and so on, can drastically dampen our ability to have much in the way of positive feelings toward anything, let alone God. Sometimes we just have to tough it out, without positive feelings. The very act of doing this forces us to live by raw faith and greatly glorifies God.

Trials, one of which can be feeling numb towards God, end up achieving immense good. I do not know whether this is always a slow process or if stubbornness sometimes makes us slower learners than necessary. For one reason or another, however, it often takes us frustratingly long to squeeze the most out of our trials. Mercifully, our loving Lord prefers not to waste what our trial has so far cost us. Such a tragedy would happen if he gave up on us and terminated trials before we have gained maximum benefit from them.

Nevertheless, I replied to my friend, “Can you recall anything that makes you feel warm and cozy – perhaps relaxing in the sun in an idyllic place or something? If so, perhaps you could try imagining that and hold on to the feeling while thinking of God.”

If one persists with something akin to this suggestion for long enough – perhaps years – I think it will often work. Ultimately, however, our relationship with God is about faith and spiritual reality, not feelings. Regardless of what they feel, Christians are in God, and he is them. And the more often we remind ourselves of this reality, the better.

I promised to move on to providing keys to getting the most out of our union with God. That’s what I do in the next page:

Links

1. Specifically Mentioned Above

2. Related Webpages

[Many Other Topics] [Daily Quotes] [Bless & Be Blessed by Facebook] [E-Mail Me] [My Shame]

Not to be sold. © Copyright, Grantley Morris, 2018. For much more by the same author, see www.net-burst.net   No part of these writings may be copied without citing this entire paragraph.

 

Bible Versions Used
(Unless otherwise specified)

King James Version

Place mouse or equivalent over a Bible reference on-line

New International Version
Appears in the text

For more information, see Bible Version Dilemmas