April 9, 2010
Life in Christ Means I've Come Alive by Faith
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Accepting one's own death is a difficult thing. Life in Christ could not begin until I accepted the truth of my own spiritual condition. When I released my independence and put my faith in Christ I received forgiveness and came alive from the dead.
Life in Christ Doesn't Mean I Have All the Answers
"If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:2
Have you considered that a misdirected pursuit of knowledge could lead you away from the truth? Are you motivated to know the truth, wherever it leads, or by a desire for superiority?
"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may observe all the words of this law."
Have you freed yourself from the perception that you can know everything? How freeing it is to say "I don't have to know everything to be found "in Christ." God's Word has revealed enough for us to experience transformation through faith in Christ.
Life in Christ Doesn't Mean Living Up to
Everyone's Expectations and Rules
“16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. 20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 " Do not handle, do not taste , do not touch!" 22 which all refer to things destined to perish with use--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”
A fake is someone who tries to be someone they're not by dressing or acting different than their true selves. Those non-biblical expectations that religious people insist on are like the thin veneer on cheap furniture. The reality of living in Christ is motivated from deep within, based on hearing God's Word and responding in faith. How freeing it is to drop all the artificial expectations of those strenuous posers to seek only Christ's approval.
Life in Christ Means Living Creatively
22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Renewal is a creative process that involves fresh thinking in the spirit of your mind. Doing things, the same old way kills your chance to come alive in Christ. Let's look at the same old problems with fresh eyes so that we can put on our new selves. Wake up and live!
Life in Christ Means Finding Christ's Presence
Doing the Challenging Things
"If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation,
the old things have passed away, behold,
new things have come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17
The process of personal transformation is akin to Moses meeting God at the burning bush or Enoch walking with God and being taken by Him. Each time we transform a part of our fallen nature into the likeness of Christ we evidence the presence of Christ's life within us. Changes that once were painful propositions, shunned and hidden behind walls of self-defense, are now embraced.
Life in Christ Doesn't Mean Living Sinlessly
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10
The more mature I become, the more aware I am of my own flawed nature. As I experience my own falleness, I learn to walk humbly, becoming more gracious with others and more thankful for Christ's atonement.
Life in Christ Means Refusing to Define Myself
by External Things
15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of greed, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." … 23 " Life is more than food , and the body [is] [ more ] than clothing. … 30 "For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. 32 "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 "Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12: 15-34
External things like (what I own, my car, house and toys … how I groom and dress … how I maintain my lawn and possessions … what and where I eat and socialize) are all used to define a person's identity in our society. However, Christ is warning us that all these things are false fronts … what really counts is living in Christ as a child of God's Kingdom.
Life in Christ Means Having Moxie
7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
"You can't lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse." - John Peers
I Believe when we truly realize who we are "in Christ" nothing can stop us from becoming that person. He has given us everything we need … the power, the love and the discipline to see this thing through.
Life in Christ Means Being Free from the Past and Embracing the Future
8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained [it] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do]: forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The time we spend looking back prevents us from achieving the future. Regrets, what ifs, failures, abuses, tragedies, put downs and even successes need to be left behind in order to embrace our future in Christ.
Life in Christ Means Letting Go of the Control of My Life to Discover God's Destiny for Me
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
We experience incredible angst when we refuse to accept the way things are. If we allow ourselves the delusion that the grass is always greener on the other side, we will postpone life and miss God's purpose for us in the now. Accept that "it is what it is" and begin to assess how you can best seek God's glory right where you are. He has entrusted you with the sphere of influence, resources and abilities that you have now … the question is what are you going to do with what you have?
Life in Christ Means Being Able to Cope
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
Learn the lesson of the woman in labor, the seed and the butterfly. The pain, decay and deconstruction of this life are necessary stages toward a greater end. The glory of God's Kingdom is created in the crucible of suffering and the forge of faith. In this life, I cannot imagine any future so glorious as to justify the suffering of this fallen world, but in faith, I embrace the metaphors that point to the truth.
Life in Christ Means Being Fully Engaged in the Transformation Process
12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
If I remain the same, I am stagnant. Living in Christ means being driven with urgency toward personal change. Continual renewal of the mind is the woof and warp of the transformation process.
5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram , But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations." (Genesis 17:5) 28 He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob , but Israel ; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed." (Genesis 32:28) 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter ). John 1:42
If you look carefully at every character in Scripture, their story is about change … each person's identity is determined by the process of transformation. I long to be given my true name by Christ.
Published by Randy Kemmerer
Glenolden - June 2008