Christ........is our life. Col 3:4
Sometimes our spiritual lives require a jump start. A new beginning. A fresh revelation. A renewing of our minds, bodies and souls sometimes simultaneously. A line in the sand if you will that everything from this point will not, cannot be the same. Once the information gets filtered through our minds and into our souls we have a responsibility to respond to it. And it's too late to go on with our lives the same way we always have doing what we've always done. Even in deciding not to decide we've made a decision.
I so love to read. I always have. And I especially love really, really good books that take you on an adventure and by the end you're just certain you'll never be the same. I love books that make the next one seem dull by comparison. And I especially love when you discover a book by accident and find by the end that the timing is absolute perfection.
I read a ton of books once, a few books twice and my all time favorite books three times. I can count on one hand the books I've read more than that. That said I've just finished The Indwelling Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas-for the 4th time! And I can say with absolute certainty it won't be the last time.
The danger in growing up with Christ is that we develop a kind of holy familiarity. Maybe you sat on the couch and prayed the prayer. Maybe you responded to an alter call. Maybe you asked Christ into your life and in exchange received some holy get out of hell free card. And maybe over time it seemed like enough. Grow up. Be a good human being. Don't go to hell. Check, check, check. And with that seemingly out of the way, we go on with our lives. People ask if we believe in God. "Of course." People ask if we are a Christian. "For sure." People ask if we're going to Heaven. "Absolutely." Sure we don't murder anyone, we try to live a life that's pleasing to the Lord, we read the Bible and prayer powerful prayers and our lives stay exactly the same. We have no victory. We're frustrated that we aren't doing all that we can for the Lord. We can't find our purpose in life and we're on a curvy road to who knows where most of the time. Maybe that's just me.
I grew up in church. I've professed to be a Christian for more than 20 years. I've been on mission trips. I went to a Christian college for 4 years of my life. And I only say those things to say, this really shouldn't be new information to me! How have I missed this seemingly simple concept that kept me up at night all last week? "Salvation is so much more than a change of destination from Hell to Heaven. It's not just Heaven one day, but Christ here and now." Jesus taking up residence within Redeemed Humanity. Yes, we do get out of hell free, but we miss everything if we stop there. I've always thought of living for Him, but totally not! It's all about Him living through me. Revolutionary.
"True repentance is stepping out of independence back into dependence." "It's not a matter of our doing our best for Him, but of Christ being His best in us."
I really, really admire people that live well. You know them. Some of you are exactly those people! People who just live really well. People you just want to hold onto because God comes out of absolutely everything they do. People that make you want desperately to have what they have even if you don't know what it is.
I've never felt that I particularly live well. I border on frantic about 90% of the time. Peace is a foreign concept to most of the situations I come into contact with and if things happen to straighten themselves out in a somewhat miraculous way I'm tempted to feel more lucky than that I trusted my way through that! God might still get the glory for putting the puzzle together, but it's not because I willingly handed over the pieces!
I've always felt like I just needed to do more. I needed to pray more and with more faith. I needed to read the Bible more and know more of the Bible. What an incredible weight to carry! With no hope of perfection in sight, it makes perfect sense to me now that we live in a state of perpetual disappointment. We're trying to do the impossible! "It's not a matter of our doing our best for Him, but of Christ being His best in us." "It's not a question of improving or being reformed, but of substitution." Christ IN us-the hope of glory. Again, why is this news to me? I have no idea.
The only thing that stands in our way is the flesh and I absolutely love the way he deals with that issue. We cannot reason with the flesh. We cannot bargain with the flesh. "Flesh has NO salvageable content." "The moment of truth comes when you stop exchanging courtesies with the flesh." "Dying to self is a wonderful position to be in because dead people cannot die."
And here's the kicker-"you cannot crucify yourself. that's God's business." Give it to Him. "Confirm the sentence of death for your flesh." Inform your flesh that you are, "Under new management" and then live like He is occupying every cell of your being.
Lest we need to look for a better example, Jesus "acted at all times on the assumption that the Father was handling the situation. That someone else was handling the consequences." He is our perfect example of letting The Father live through Him to touch all of humanity-even to the point of death! I don't even let Christ lead me out of the bed most mornings to spend time with Him. It's no wonder we feel so often that we aren't living up to our highest purpose.
That said, when we get this straight in our minds and in our hearts, Spirituality is, "Simply our availability to God for His divine activity." "If it pleases you always and only to do what pleases God -you can do as you please." And sanctification then becomes, "The highest measure of Christ's regenerate work being accomplished in our lives. Something (we) are being put to our correct use!"
If Jesus has truly taken up occupancy in our lives. If we have not just received a get out of hell free card, but we've truly received Christ Himself into our humanity then, "What should Christ expect from us? Nothing less than the behavior of Christ himself." And the great news is, it's not up to us to make that happen. We bow out and He bows in. "We vacate the flesh." And in doing so, He occupies our very being to go about the work He has planned. We're a vessel, but He's the captain. To the point that we look nothing like ourselves and everything like Jesus. That by bumping into us, people have bumped into the Jesus living through us. That by the example of Christ given the opportunity to live through our lives people see Him at work in the world. It's not even a little bit about us.
I honestly don't have it yet (hence the being up at all hours of the night!), but I want to. That alone has brought relief to be struggling soul. I want Him to have the freedom in this body to be all that He wants to be to the Earth around me. If I got nothing else out of the book, it's given me for now my new life motto. "My determined purpose is to know Him." And I would add to that, to let Him in.
There isn't another life. There isn't another decision. It's not a matter of if He's working, it's a matter of when I let Him in enough that He is able to accomplish the purposes He has for this life, for this moment, for such a time as this. It may be big things and it may be small things. I don't know and He doesn't have to tell me. I honestly feel like our purpose in life is directly in proportion to our yielding to Him. The more we get out, the more He comes in and that changes everything.
Christ......is our life. Col 3:4