Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Second Opinion

  Warning - This is not written by Fran and it is Christian in nature -

Last week’s column talked about the picture the apostle Paul paints of us as jars of clay -- earthen containers capable of containing an eternal treasure – the Holy Spirit.  Ponder that thought for a moment, God in us.  Imagine the power and comfort of knowing that He is for you and will never forsake you.  

Jesus personally promoted this promise to his disciples.  The Gospel of John records Jesus’ teaching this way, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth… you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you...”   One night, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  

Here’s how Paul explained this fact to the fledgling community of Christians in Corinth, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?   Later in that same letter, Paul reinforced this premise by asking these comparatively new followers of Christ about the promise this way, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  So there it is.  God’s plan is to be in us.

I vividly recall an event in the early days of the war in Afghanistan – I had walked into our medical facility in Kandahar to find a young Afghan man strapped to a gurney -- hands and legs all securely restrained.  He had no shirt and a mask over his face to keep him from spitting.  I asked our even younger medic what was wrong with the Afghani.  He said he didn’t know, but that the Division Psychiatrist had been called.  

Almost as soon he’d said that, the Doc walked in with a large syringe.  I told the Doc that the drugs in that syringe would indeed put him down, but they could not cure the problem.   I said, “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with him. The guy has demons.”  Despite the Doc’s skepticism of my diagnosis, in my mind, there was no doubt.  As Providence would have it, a couple of minutes later our Afghan translator walks in to the room. I asked Ahmed, “What’s wrong with this guy?” Ahmed says, “How do you say in English? He has spirits.”   At that I said. “Doc, there’s your second opinion!’”  

Jesus had a similar encounter.  “They brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute.  Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see... the Pharisees said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons’.”  Jesus refuted this with His famous “house divided argument.”  But more pertinent was His prescription for unadulterated freedom, “if the Spirit of God drives out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Jesus goes on to describe the protection offered by the Holy Spirit, “how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.”   Don’t doubt the need to keep our temple full with His all-powerful Spirit. 

Why? “Because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

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