Why is it that some children of God live victorious lives while others are in
a state of constant defeat? The difference is not accounted for by the presence or absence of
the Spirit, but by this--that some recognize his indwelling and others do not. —Watchman Nee
If I were a preacher, I would preach nothing
but the practice of the presence
of God. —Brother Lawrence
Eighteen hours on a plane is a marathon flight. After two incredible weeks in South Africa, I was on my way home. Having been shoe-horned into seat 36G for twelve hours, I was getting stir crazy. And that’s when I saw him. Glancing up from my book, I saw Jesus walk past me. I believe he even smiled at me. Was that really who I thought it was? It couldn’t be. Maybe it was. I had to find out. I stood up to visually search him out in the cattle car section of South African Airways Flight 220, and there he was. Sitting only four rows behind me was Jesus. Should I go talk to him? That was a no- brainer. So I walked back to seat 40H, knelt down eye level to him, and asked, “Are you the actor who played Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew video series? That is my favorite of all Jesus movies.” With the same compassion that he demonstrated portraying Jesus, he replied, “Yes, I’m Bruce Marchiano.” And for the next couple of minutes we talked about why he was in South Africa, why I was there, and what God was doing in our ministries. Then I shook his hand and told him how good it was to meet him. He said I was kind to notice him and to come speak to him. Just like Jesus. Bruce, however, had a bandage on his finger. I doubt that Jesus ever had a bandage on his finger.
After I sat back down in my seat, I chewed on this spiritual steak that I was just served. For twelve hours I’d been on an Airbus 300 with Jesus, or rather, Bruce, and I had no clue of it. But, for the rest of the flight I was dead certain that he was right there with me. Every now and then I’d get up, stretch, and check him out again. What a hoot. “Jesus” and me flying back from South Africa on the same plane. What are the odds of that?
Then it hit me—isn’t that just the way it is with my Lord Jesus? As I fly through life, he is always there. Sometimes I’m conscious of it and sometimes I’m not. But, my awareness doesn’t change the facts. Jesus, in the person of the Holy Spirit, is with me every millisecond of my life. But, unlike Bruce Marchiano, my sweet Jesus isn’t sitting four rows behind me. Nor is he sitting beside me. And he’s not holding my hand, doesn’t have his arm around me, and isn’t even carrying me. He’s surpassingly closer and more intimately present than any of that. He’s IN me. He’s one with me and I with him like a branch is one with a vine (John 15:1-5).
I do not think it was a coincidence that the book I was reading on that flight was The Normal Christian Life. In that spiritual gold mine Watchman Nee wrote, “When we really see that God has made our hearts his dwelling place, what a deep reverence will come over our lives. Has it really come home to you that wherever you go you carry with you the Holy Spirit of God? True revelation of the Spirit’s indwelling will revolutionize the life of any Christian.” It will indeed.
As you are flying through life are you living in the awareness that Jesus is flying with you? Not four rows behind you, six rows in front of you, or in first class while you are flying coach. If you are a Christian, Jesus, in the person of His Holy Spirit, is one with you (1 Corinthians 6:17). Practicing His presence will make all the difference in your flight.
© Chip Kirk