The “I Am” presence within you IS the living Christ
It bears repeating: If you will please suspend your objections and simply rest in silent awareness of the “I Am” presence within you, you will make contact with the Word of Life.
NOTE: If you merely “think about” this I AM Presence, confusing it in your mind with some idea you have – perhaps an idea about your “body” or some detail of your “personality” or “autobiography” – you will continue to miss the point; you will continue to miss the living Reality toward which our scriptures and traditions are pointing.
You will move closer to Him – closer to the living Reality – if you simply think “I Am” without associating it with any other object of thought or experience.
This, too, bears repeating: You will move closer to Him – closer to the living Reality – if you simply think “I Am” without associating this with any other object of thought or experience.
But you won’t really begin to know Him intimately until you are able to simply feel the “I Am” presence in the stillness of the present moment – in the space between the out-breath and in-breath, for example, or in the silence between each heartbeat. “Be still and know that I Am God” (Psalms 46:10).
Let those who doubt come and see! Come and see the one who told me everything I ever did! (John 4:29). Let those who are tempted to belittle or underestimate the profundity of this simple spiritual exercise consider the story of Naaman, in the Old Testament, who was healed of his leprosy as follows:
Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters ofIsrael? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy (II Kings 5:10-15).
Likewise – if you would have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10) – don’t turn away in a huff, but simply and humbly immerse yourself in the “I Am” presence which is Christ-in-you—the hope of glory! But don’t stop at 7 times – or even 70 x 7 – but learn to abide in Him and continue in his Word (John 15:4, 8:31). So doing, you will learn what it means to pray without ceasing and will become a vessel . . . fit for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work (cf. I Thessalonians 5:17; II Timothy 2:21).
Nothing that is said herein should be taken simply “on faith” (in the way that expression is ordinarily used or misused). The “I Am” presence which IS the living Christ is perfectly verifiable — it can be examined — touched and handled, as it were (cf. John 20:24-29; I John 1:1). “Taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalms 34:8).
There is no need to accept any doctrine or dogma that seems false to you – or to give your unqualified assent to any proposition that seems doubtful. What is required, however, is that you exchange your will for God’s will; exchange that which you imagine to be desirable for that which IS – that which always IS – that which is the same yesterday, today, and forever (cf. Hebrews 13:8). If and when you really do so – and you can only do so here and now – the (super)natural response will be to bow before Him and say, “My Lord and my God” (cf. John 20:28). All doubts will dissipate in this light and the knottiest of theological and philosophical conundrums will begin to fall away. Indeed, many (previously obscure) aspects of the tradition will become clear for the first time. “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16). Moreover, the Reality that IS the living Christ is accessible to all men, regardless of who they are and where they were born and what they may or may not believe about Jesus or the Bible. Once again: “Whosoever will may come and drink of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17; cf. John 7:37-38).
Whether you are a nominal “believer” or “unbeliever” is irrelevant at this point. The only question is whether or not you can step beyond that which you “think” or “believe” (or disbelieve) and simply and humbly abide in the “I Am” presence which IS Christ-in-you. A good point of entry into the Way of Life is to:
- be silent and listen (cf. Deuteronomy 27:9);
- feel the “I Am” presence between each breath you breathe (cf. Matthew 28:20);
- listen to the still small voice in the silence between each heart beat (cf. I Kings 19:12; John 18:37b);
- be still and know that “I Am” God (Psalms 46:10);
- open your heart and dine with Him (cf. Revelation 3:20);
- taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalms 34:8);
- trust God to work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
This does not mean that you will always be quiet or passive – quite the contrary. Sometimes you will make a joyful noise unto the Lord (Psalm 98). Sometimes tremendous inspiration will well up within you as extraordinary things are accomplished in and through your life. Perhaps you will declare boldly the mystery of the gospel (cf. Ephesians 6:19-20). Perhaps you will live an apparently ordinary life in the strength and power of the Spirit. But whatever you do, you will do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men (Colossians 3:23 KJV). You will not be looking to complete yourself through external accomplishments. Indeed, you will hardly claim them as your own. Rather, they will be a (super)natural manifestation of the completeness and sufficiency that is found in Christ – that IS Christ-in-you. All that really needs to be done IS done – not in your own strength, but in the spirit and the power of the Lord:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
There is no need, at this point, to engage in the fearful or frantic efforts of the world-weary soul:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
To the extent that these scriptures ring true to you, to that extent an awakening is already underway. As you become more intimately acquainted with the “I Am” presence (which IS the living Word of God in your heart), more and more of that which you read in the Biblewill begin to resonate in this way.
–> Chapter 5: The Written Word of God