Phil or Dr. Phil

I know you all have heard of Dr. Phil. He has a lot of insights into human relationships and he gives helpful advice. I’m sure many are able to enjoy self-improvements as a result of listening to Oprah’s favorite doctor.

Well, we have a “Phil” working in our ministry. Phil Van Tol is married to Lisa, the Registrar of Celebration Bible College, and he is our IT Manager. Once in a while he sends me a nugget of Jesus-revelation. Now, our Phil comes from a different perspective than Dr. Phil. He is discovering the realities of the Gospel of the grace of God, and the New Covenant Jesus has provided for us. The other day he sent me this note:

I was thinking over the New Covenant and the following came to my mind: it is easy for most believers (myself included) to see God in the majesty of creation and to see Christ in an eloquent speaker or affluent Christian businessman.  However, what we, as believers, really need to learn is how to see Christ in ourselves – warts, freckles, ugly second toes and all.  I have heard preachers ask “Who is Jesus to you?” but that isn’t really the question that should be asked: the real question that we need to address is “Who is Jesus IN you?”  When we truly begin to see Christ in ourselves, the reality of the power available to us will come to light.  I sincerely believe that this is the key to every believer walking in total victory; the power to overcome sin, the power to become prosperous, the power to receive healing – unless we begin to see Christ in us at a personal level, all of these things appear as an outside intervention and, therefore, something we must yet attain. If we don’t eventually see Jesus in ourselves, even the best New Covenant teaching can become just another layer of theology relegated merely to the soulish realm. 

Recently I have made a conscious endeavor to see Christ in myself when I look in the mirror – sometimes it can be hard to do when you see all your faults and shortcomings at the same time; however, over the last few weeks it has begun to sink in more and more.  What a difference it has made in day-to-day life!  I have noticed that as I focus on the fact that Christ is in me and that He is part of every aspect of my day-to-day life, that day-to-day life becomes more enjoyable and less stressful.  CHRIST IN ME is my hope of glory; not Christ on the throne of Heaven, not Christ on the cross, not Christ healing the multitudes or feeding the 5 thousand, but Christ in ME -that must be my perspective. He is my ever PRESENT help in time of need.  Christ is, of course, those other things and more, but I, and all believers, need to keep the fact that His life is in us at the forefront of our thinking.  In reality we are more than conquerors, we are already blessed and God is already happy with us; however, if we lose sight of the fact that Christ is IN us—not just FOR us—we run the risk of losing our grasp on that reality.
When you look in the mirror do you see Jesus looking back? That is the question I have been asking myself and that is the question believers needs to honestly ask themselves.  We all need to see Him in our own eyes.

I sure would love to hear your comments on the issues Phil is dealing with. Now, I think Dr. Phil makes a lot of sense, but if you have discovered that self-improvement has its limitations, you may find Phil’s comments even more helpful. There is only so much change available through self-discipline, willpower and good intentions. Jesus in YOU can really bring about transformation. It seems Phil is discovering that. If anyone else feels the same way, or for that matter, if anyone disagrees, let me know your thoughts.


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