A Life IN
by David Brenneman
"And you were dead in your offenses and sins, in which you previously walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB
This is perhaps one of my favorite places of a before and after with coming to Christ for salvation. The Believer ought to review this chapter often. All too often we are like children playing with fire. How close to the world can we be and not be burned by following in its sinful ways and practices?
We are to be in the world yet not of this world. John 15:19 NASB "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you."
We can unfortunately crave the world's attention and admiration. We can crave its acceptance, seeking to co-exist with it. Jesus plainly says that the world's not going to like us because of who we are in Christ.
Paul writes of what previously was and what ought to be now for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We are going to face opposition in this life for choosing Jesus.
"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people." Romans 12:18 NASB. This easily implies that quite often it's likely not going to be possible. We are going to have people, if the real truth if situations were revealed, have issues with us because of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Another aspect is what can be referred to as "cuddling up" with the world. Talking nice with it, giving in to its demands in order to placate it. To sooth its being upset with us for the hope of salvation in us. So we often can be found watering down the Word of God to please others.
Oh the warnings about that. Peter and others boldly stood before the Jewish Leaders to state:
"And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all [n]in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man on whom this miracle of healing had been performed was more than forty years old." Acts 4:18-22 NASB
Life IN Christ is supposed to be different from the world.
Life IN Christ is not supposed to be us living so close that no difference is seen.
Life IN Christ is to be us seeking to be filled with:
"For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, from whom [m]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB
Quite the opposite of what the world seeks, which is its own glory and its own righteousness.
Those in Christ Jesus want Jesus on the throne of their hearts. Those who aren't in Christ want themselves on the throne of their hearts.
We cannot live life trying to mix both worlds and please Him with whom our salvation rests. Jesus was in this world but not of this world. That's what He taught the Disciples. That's what those who were Disciples who became the Apostles taught others in the Church to be.
You cannot live a life in Christ by putting Him, His wishes for you, His desires for you on a shelf until you get to Him as a priority. Your growth in sanctification depends on your obedience to the Word of God, not your striving to please the world.
Take a look at your life. Are you trying to blend in with the world? Is your time, energy and effort going towards obedience to God's Word or to self? Are you living for Jesus a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that you do?
When Believers stand before Jesus what we have done FOR Christ Jesus is what's going to be recognized as valuable. Not our wealth, not our health nor our prosperity. Not our sports teams, not our affiliations. Not what clubs we were a part of. Nothing but what we did in the body for Jesus is going to matter.
Does your life show a life IN Christ?
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