Christ In You

Paul said, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).

The apostle sensed within himself not just the philosophy, ideals,
or influence of Christ but the person of Jesus.
Christ moved in. He still does.

When grace happens, Christ enters.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory"
(Col. 1:27).

For many years I missed this truth.
I believed all the other prepositions: Christ for me, with me, ahead of me.
And I knew I was working beside Christ, under Christ, with Christ.
But I never imagined that Christ was in me.

I can't blame my deficiency on Scripture.
Paul refers to this union 216 times. John mentions it 26.
They describe a Christ who not only woos us to himself but "ones" us to himself.
"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God"
(1 John 4:15).

No other religion or philosophy makes such a claim.
No other movement implies the living presence of its founder in his followers.
Muhammad does not indwell Muslims. Buddha does not inhabit Buddhists.
Hugh Hefner does not inhabit the pleasure-seeking hedonist.
Influence? Instruct? Entice? Yes. But occupy? No.

Yet Christians embrace this inscrutable promise.
"The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you"
(Col. 1:27 MSG).
The Christian is a person in whom Christ is happening.

We are Jesus Christ's; we belong to him.
But even more, we are increasingly him.
He moves in and commandeers our hands and feet, requisitions our minds and tongues.
We sense his rearranging: debris into the divine, pig's ear into silk purse.
He repurposes bad decisions and squalid choices.
Little by little a new image emerges.
"He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him
along the same lines as the life of his Son"
(Rom. 8:29 MSG).

Max Lucado


see also:

Leave the Past Behind

Remember the story of the prodigal son?
He squandered his inheritance on wild living and bad choices.
He lost every penny. His trail dead-ended in a pigpen.
One day he was so hungry he leaned over the pig trough, took a sniff, and drooled.
He was just about to dig in when something within him awoke.
Wait a second.
What am I doing wallowing in the mud?

Then he made a decision that changed his life forever.
“I will arise and go to my father.”

You can do that.
You can’t undo all the damage you’ve done.
But you can arise and go to your Father.
Even the apostle Paul had to make this choice.
He said, “I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead,
I go straight for the goal”
(Philippians 3:13-14).

Landing in a pigpen stinks. But staying there…is just plain stupid.

Max Lucado
From Glory Days

see also:

Being Free to Love

Jesus came to us to help us overcome our fear of God.
As long as we are afraid of God, we cannot love God.

Love means intimacy, closeness, mutual vulnerability, and a deep sense of safety.
But all of those are impossible as long as there is fear.
Fear creates suspicion, distance, defensiveness, and insecurity.

The greatest block in the spiritual life is fear.
Prayer, meditation, and education cannot come forth out of fear.

God is perfect love, and as John the Evangelist writes,
"Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18).

Jesus' central message is that God loves us with an unconditional love and
desires our love, free from all fear, in return.

Henri Nouwen

For further reflection...

"Keep yourselves in God's love
as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
to bring you to eternal life."
- Jude 21 (NIV)

Drawing Near To God

    “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you….”
– James 4:8

The nearer we come to God, the more He’ll reveal Himself to us.
When the prodigal son comes to his father, his father runs to meet him. (Luke 15:11-32)
When the wandering dove returns to the ark,
Noah puts out his hand to pull her in unto him. (Gen 8:9)

 Come then, dear friend, draw close to God who so graciously awaits us,
who runs to meet us.

Have you ever read that verse in Isaiah 58:9?

    “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

In this verse the Lord seems to be saying,
“What have you to say to me? What can I do for you? I am waiting to bless you.”

Why would we hesitate to draw near?
God is quick to forgive, to bless, to comfort, to help, to strengthen, to deliver.

If we draw near to others, they may eventually grow weary of us and leave us;
but the promises to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

If we seek the Lord alone, He will continue to come nearer and nearer to us
through deeper and more joyful fellowship.

How Do We Draw Near To God?

Christians draw near to God when:

1) Through Christ, they turn from sin to the throne of His grace,
for forgiveness and mercy to help them. (Heb 4:14,16)

2) Come to Him in prayer and lift up praises to Him. (Psa 147:1)

3) In faith and hope lay hold of His promises. (Psa 119:162)

- C.H. Spurgeon