Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Christian Life

If someone asked you to tell them where the Christian life is, where would you direct them? Would you dare point to yourself and claim to possess the entire Christian life?

It is amazing to me how reticent we are to claim for ourselves what Jesus said is ours. He said He is our life (the only Christian life) and we still refuse to believe it and behave as if it is true. The truth we often will not own is that every Christian has the entire Christian life. That entire Christian life is the perfect presence of Jesus in us right now. If we look for the Christian life anywhere else we will look in vain. All the Christian life we will ever have is in us from the moment of our new birth.

Like the DNA we live our physical lives with from conception, Jesus is all the Christian life we will ever have and all the Christian life we will ever need.

The Apostle Paul said "for to me to live is Christ...". He also said that he no longer lived but Christ lived in Him. He also was concerned that the Christian life would not be "formed" in all those in whom that life dwelt. He wasn't concerned they did not have the Christian life. He was concerned that life would not occupy its rightful place of influence and stimulus. Clearly Paul looked at every believer as possessing the entire Christian life since Jesus was abiding in them. Do we see every Christian like Paul did?

As I have struggled to believe I have the entire Christian life already in me, I have sensed that my own pride is what keeps me from surrendering to this profound yet simple way of seeing. I don't want a finished and perfect life in me because that means I will have to live exclusively by grace from now on. Grace means I didn't produce anything. Grace means I simply receive from the resources of another. That offends my desire to contribute something additional to the source of my life other than faith.

We cannot and must not add to the cross of Jesus or we will distort the Gospel. We cannot and must not add to the life of Jesus which is the Christian life. Both Christ crucified and Christ are to be received as perfect and gracious from the moment of receiving by faith.

Little by little I am learning to stop making excuses about the qualify of my Christian life. My Christian life is perfect since my Christian life is Jesus. I have the perfect Christian life right now. I don't need to go looking for it or try to produce it. I need to receive it, rejoice in it and release it.

The next time someone asks you to help them find the Christian life, don't take them to a bookstore or even a pastor. Tell them you know right where the Christian life resides 24X7. Tell them that same life can be theirs the same way you received it-by faith.

"For by grace are you saved and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God."

Oh, the unimaginable patience of God with me. He gives me the entire Christian life and I still live as though Jesus is not enough.

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