Sunday, November 25, 2012

Having Jesus In Your Heart 15


When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.
That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,
“He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”                    Matthew 8:14-17
“That by ‘bearing sicknesses,’ ‘sorrows,’ and ‘iniquities,’ and by ‘being pierced and bruised by them,’ [Isaiah 53:4,5] means a state of temptations, because in such a state there are griefs of soul, distresses, and despairs, which in this way cause anguish. Such things are induced by the hells, for in temptations they assault the very love of the person against whom they fight; the love of everyone being the inmost of their life. The Lord's love was the love of saving the human race, which love was the Being of His life, for this love was the Divine in Him. In Isaiah also, where the subject treated of is the combats of the Lord, this is described in these words:
‘He said, Surely they are My people, therefore He became their Savior. In all their distress He was distressed; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He took them up, and carried them all the days of eternity’ (Isa. 63:8, 9).                           Secrets of Heaven §9937:6

One of the barriers to knowing someone well is that a small item, a single act, or just a few words, can establish an entire point of view, creating a filter of judgment through which the other person is seen. Psychologists have noticed the huge effect of first impressions. Recently it was noticed that we make very complex decisions in the time it takes us to blink. I say this is a barrier because our initial interpretation may be entirely incorrect due to no fault of the person we have just been introduced to.
A more serious problem is when we hear something someone says, and already have a set context given to us, giving color and weight to what is said. And the worst case is when we hear someone say something and hear it only as confirmation of our previously established point of view. For instance, we may make light of it in art and literature, but it can be a serious problem when a young man’s mother makes public her judgment about his fiancée. Sure this can be really funny, but it is also makes a serious point about how manipulative our point of view can be.
There is a serious barrier to our relationship with Jesus Christ that has been set up by a large number of theologians over the last two centuries. Modern Christian apologists (those who seek to explain the story of, and the teachings by, Jesus Christ) look at the fulfillment of prophecies such as the one used above from Isaiah 53:4, and use them to justify the interpretation that Jesus Christ’s death was caused by our sickness, and that our spiritual disease is all now gone because He removed them from our spirit. It is thus said that Jesus taught that faith in Him wipes our spirit clean of all the sin that has been built up since it originated in the Garden of Eden.
In fact, as the teachings for the New Church show in a depth and detail not possible in this short article, Jesus Christ took on not our individual spiritual sickness, but the totality of the evil of all hell. That is the sickness He took on and bore, even to the cross. Because He is the Son of God, He put off all that sickness and even made Himself Divine, one with the Father, as He predicted.
What is wonderful, what connects me with my Savior Jesus Christ, is not that He has washed me of all evil, but that He experienced, in an incomprehensibly more powerful way, the influence of the hells that I feel. Every time I feel like lying, I know Jesus Christ felt that. Every time I become angry, I know Jesus Christ felt that. My faith in Him is knowing that, since He did not allow the hells to run His life, I don’t have to either. My faith in Him is the belief that I can die battling an evil desire, and I will continue to live in the only way that counts, spiritually. My faith in Him is the hope that I will be saved from the attack of the evil spirits by means of the power of His love, since I have none of that power.
This interpretation of the prophecy that Jesus Christ has borne my illnesses has a very practical application. I have experienced what appears to be a common human trait: I can believe someone else has caused my spiritual illness. An example is anger. It is very common for a person to say “He made me angry.” Or “I could just kill her!” Or “He ruined my day!” And lying this way is very common. “The traffic made me late.” I have noticed that my anger and fear (which leads to lying) are barriers to my relationships with other people. And I get angry, and I lie, simply because I have a preconceived notion, a particular point of view, a habit of making a quick judgment, when someone says or does something that impacts me.
A very unspiritual part of me wishes someone would take this trait away from me. I really want to not get angry, and I really want to stop lying. A quick glance at Jesus Christ’s teachings, in light of what so many theologians have taught, going along with my human trait to put responsibility on others, all combine to make the faith that Jesus Christ has taken away all my sin, and I have no more to do, very attractive.
But is that really a relationship of love? My spiritual self (rising above my merely natural self) wants the responsibility that brings with it the radical freedom that is the core of my humanity. Jesus Christ wants me to have the freedom so much that He came to the world, took on the same spiritual sickness I have, and thus created a path and a process for me to use to be made well by His love.
So this means that I have some work to do. I have to notice the quick interpretations I make, and take the time to look at myself and my relationship with Jesus Christ from a higher, deeper point of view. I means I have to do the work of reading the Word myself, allowing His Holy Spirit to show me the truths that will heal me. And I have to do the work of creating the sacred space in which Jesus Christ can be in my life by being honest, taking responsibility, and relying on Him for the power to change my thoughts and actions. That is having Jesus Christ in my heart!

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