I recently rediscovered a spiritual mentor from my young adulthood. He and I didn’t meet regularly for discipleship, in fact, I don’t think we ever met at all. The only relationship I had with him was through his books and one seminar my wife and I attended where he was the speaker. But his teaching has had a lasting and profound influence on our life with Jesus to this very day.
His name was Major Ian Thomas. As many Brits of his day seemed to do, he retained the title “Major” from his service in the British military during WWII. He was a compelling Bible teacher and the founder of a Bible school movement, called Capernwray, which grew to include informal Bible schools in many countries around the world.
If you were present for my sermon a few weeks ago, you heard some of the things that Paulette and I learned from Major Thomas: About how the life of Jesus indwells those who believe in him; about the startling and cosmic reality of Christianity that the creator of the universe, like a friendly and benevolent alien from another world, inhabits the spirit of everyone who comes to faith in Jesus.
Here's what Major Thomas wrote about one effect of the indwelling life of Christ:
“No one walking the roads and streets of our neighborhoods today will meet the Lord Jesus in his own body, but He does indeed have a body on earth at this time. You and I are the hands, feet, lips, eyes, ears, mind, and heart of Jesus Christ. We are here to advertise Deity.
Ours are the only bodies on earth He has, but through them our fellow human beings can receive a physical, visible, and audible expression of the glory of the invisible God. With our hands, some little child can feel His touch. Through our lips, some desperately lonely woman can hear His voice, and a frightened man running away from life, crushed by circumstances, can look us in the face and see Christ smile.”
The Indwelling Life of Christ, pg. 158, 159
So we pray: “Heavenly Father, I now make myself available to the Spirit of Jesus living in me. All that I am is available to all that you are. I put myself at your disposal to live your life through mine.”