The gospel song “He Lives” is a favorite hymn, especially during
Eastertide. The lyrics query, “You ask me how I know he lives?” And
the moving, impassioned response proclaims, “He lives within my
The truth that Jesus himself lives in us is a powerful mystery
that we must carefully steward. Sometimes Christians speak with
authority on behalf of Jesus, acting as though our words are exactly
what Jesus himself would say. The arrogant tone we use and the
exclusive language we choose suggest that our message differs from
the one Christ would give. As we know, if I point a finger at others,
that leaves three fingers pointed back at me. How can I be sure that I
myself am speaking for Jesus when I say something in his name?
The apostle Paul tells us just what “Jesus in your heart” looks like. Having the risen Christ live in you looks like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, love, unity, and peace. It looks like a life that embodies Christ’s word: “Blessed are the poor” (Luke 6:20); “The first will be last and the
last will be first” (Luke 13:30); “Let the children come to me” (Luke 18:16). It looks like sharing bread and washing feet.
And if it occasionally looks like turning over tables, we better ask
if it is Christ in our heart or our own ego stoking our actions. For the
Scripture insists that whatever we do, it needs to represent the Christ
we claim lives in us.
When you feel strongly that you are right about something, how do you submit that to the Christ within you to make sure it is in keeping with Christ’s word?
You live in my heart, O Christ! May no one else have the throne of my allegiance. Let it be so. Amen.