“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
While reflecting on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, we must not miss the incredible gift that God has given us. A gift that enables us to live in heavenly places in Christ.
As Christians, we must deal with many miserable temptations and struggles against sin. It is a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical struggle. Quite simply, it is a raging, bloody battle.
When we were young, it was easy to take a great deal for granted. To believe that life was all manageable and controllable for the disciplined and devoted person. But this life will teach you far more than you ever wanted to know about your own weakness.
Sooner or later, the romance wears off and reality sets in.
The Blessing of Weakness
Yet, it is in our weaknesses and failures that we are prepared to receive the most precious gift of all.
A gift described in 2 parts:
- Our total inability to live this Christian life
- God’s total ability to live His life through us
We can never truly receive this gift until we fail. That is the practical reality of spiritual life. That we must reach the end of our rope before God can use us.
Yes, we can fantasize that a Christian will walk by faith in God’s word without experiencing the sufferings of life. Or that he will simply do the right thing if he reads enough, prays enough, believes enough, etc., etc., etc..
Good luck with that.
The only One who ever did that was the Lord Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life. He was totally obedient to the Father. He made all the right choices from beginning to end.
We have not done that.
The Hideous Strength of the Flesh
So, what is the solution to our problem?
The solution is that we must let go of our rope, our own strength, before the Lord can reveal Himself through us. All else before that point is a demonstration of the power of our own will or will-worship. The display of our own Christian flesh. Of our own dedicated Christian flesh.
Which is as much of the flesh as all the carnal practices the scriptures list in great detail.
The Lord knew the full brunt of all those temptations. He allowed Himself to be subjected to those sufferings according to the counsel of the Father, the Spirit, and Himself. According to the counsel held before the foundation of the world.
The Lord Jesus actually became a physical codification of the Law. A perfect revelation of the Holiness and purity of God in physical form. This is confirmed when the scriptures speak of Christ being “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person…” [speaking of the Father] (Hebrews 1:3)
How Was Jesus Raised From the Dead?
The Lord became sin for us and offered Himself once to pay the full price for all sins forever. He also showed us how to live according to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:2)
This was done in order to give us hope as more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
Our living the Christian life is not about our will power. It is not about inner discipline. It is not achieved by following “practical tips on how to live the Christian life”.
Yet this is exactly what most Fundamental and Evangelical churches teach. They give us no more of a biblical way to live than any other religious groups around us. We are left with a method or strategy that depends on our own inner gymnastics. As if we have something in ourselves, that we can control, which can do what the Lord wants.
But consider how this verse contradicts that kind of thinking. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:16-17)
We are new creatures in Christ if we have trusted Him by faith as our Savior. And, as new creatures, His Spirit now dwells within us to teach us a new way to live.
The Lord, offered Himself up to God by the eternal Spirit. Then, He was raised from the dead by that same Spirit — by the glory of the Father.
“…that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
Did you catch that?
There is a tremendous gift waiting for you under the Christmas tree right now. It is the indwelling Christ, Christ in you, who wants to live His life through us. Just as Christ lived by the indwelling Spirit of God when He was on earth.
A False Form of Godliness
But we can see these words and still miss the truth. If we try to live the life Christ has commanded us to live, we will fail. But, if we trust the Lord to do His Own work in us, and rest in that hope, then He will be free to do the extraordinary things He wants to do through us.
Otherwise, we are just another group of religious people trying to outdo each other in “good works”. Trying to show how much better our religious flesh is. Or as the scriptures say, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (II Timothy 3:5)
Yeah, did you ever think that this verse is also talking about Christians?
While we don’t see this, we actually deny God’s working in us by not trusting Him to work. We tend to take over the activity because of all those around us telling us to get to work! Telling us not to be passive. To get off our lazy rear ends.
Which is the accusation that Martha leveled at Mary (the sisters of Lazarus).
We have this wonderful gift of the indwelling Christ and yet we nullify His activity within us because we believe He needs our help to do what only God can do.
This is an amazing thing! It changes our whole life down here. It changes our miserable struggles against sin. It begins a new life of rest and peace in the Lord — even for those who have been Christians for decades — and allows us to focus on loving Him and knowing Him as never before.
May the Lord open up this wonderful gift for you over this Christmas season!