Saturday, August 18, 2018

Hot or cold?

Living in Arizona, even the temperature of our skin gets warm! No matter how warm it is outside, my mom is usually wearing a sweater inside (it is just one of those things that happens at about age 100). I will reach out to take her hand to help her up or to navigate to her next destination, only to hear, "My...your hands are so warm!" Touch is a tactile sense - it is something 'felt' through the experience of what comes into contact with one's body. God's touch may not be 'physical' in that his hands makes contact with ours, but we can somehow 'sense' the touch of God in our lives just about as well as we can experience the physical touch of a loved one reaching out to take our hand. What God does 'in' us through his touch is almost as palpable as what he does all around us.

Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit. 
(John 3:4-6)

A touch is the means by which we perceive - we know dimension, experience consistency, and interpret the temperature of something. Through a touch, we feel with the intention of understanding or appreciating that which we are in contact with. Much is conveyed in a touch - Jesus reminds us that unless we submit to the touch of God on our lives, we are not able to enter into the Kingdom of God. The invisible spirit of man - that which only God can touch within us - must be touched by the hand of the Almighty God. There is just no other touch that can equate to his.

It is important for us to keep in mind that God's touch is not a one time event in our lives - his hand passes over us time and time again - in order that we might get a sensation of one who is touching us. It is the desire of God to impart his holiness, joy, peace, power - all that he is - through his touch. As a blind man might lightly touch the face of another - tracing the outline of those features in order to determine their identity - God touches us. He looks for the identity of Christ to be replicated in us. Where he discovers that identity in us, he takes delight - he recognizes him and it excites him when he finds more of his Son in us each time he makes contact.

It is that touch that gives us both the awareness of who we are in contact with and the ability to sense his character. Yet, much more is conveyed in the touch of God on our spirit. God brings assurance through his touch - a sense of safety, a sense of being sure or certain - a sense of stability. His touch becomes the strength we need for the tasks at hand. At times, it is the very consolation we need when trouble or worry is at hand. His touch also serves to help us identify what is ahead for us. Just as a blind man might grope around in the darkness of his condition, we grope around, reaching out to identify where we are in life and what we have to navigate through. God is right there, revealing the obstacles that lay in our path, so that we might steer clear of them. In turn, his touch aids us each and every time to find our way through some pretty challenging or frightful stuff.

Nothing affects our spirit more than the touch of a holy God. His touch gets our attention - focusing us anew like nothing else can. Through his touch, we are brought to a place of alertness - heightened in our interest and coming out of our slumber. That very touch brings us to a place of readiness - much like the tap on a shoulder might alert one nearby that their attention is needed. We often miss what is right in front of us - simply because our attention has drifted toward something else. His touch helps us to take notice and to turn the powers of perception toward that which we need so desperately to comprehend.

Nothing pleases God more than to see a stirring in response to his touch. His awakening touch is meant to arouse us - to make us active again where we have allowed inactivity to lull us into complacency. His touch, just like that of a friend who gently shakes you from slumber, is able to disturb the quiet of the moment just enough to bring us to a change in our position. When God stirs us with his touch, it is to bring about a change in position - to arouse us to activity. We must never grow weary with being touched by God - his touch moves us and directs us so that we will make progress toward the goal he has for our lives. It is his touch that helps us keep a steady pace - making forward progress spiritually. It is through a touch that we budge from our fixed, stubborn position of "safety" and "security" - what we call that place of complacency. The next time God moves across your life, stirring your emotions, bringing your feelings to attention - respond to him with the passion of your heart. His touch - sensing the temperature of our lives - determines if we are hot or cold, alive or dead, in a state of rigor or pliable in his hands. There is the promise of much joy and satisfaction conveyed in his touch. Have you been touched by God today? Just askin!