One morning, during my morning devotional study of Romans 6, an awareness of the resources we have to live the Christian life overwhelmingly impressed me! I am convinced that the reason why many modern “Christians” are living such defeated lives is because they don’t know nor do they understand who they are in Christ! Nor do they know or comprehend the resources that God has provided for them to live the Christian life.
First, the true believer is “in Christ!” Paul used that terminology in his letters to indicate the position of the believer. To be “in Christ” is to be united with Christ. In explaining Christian baptism in Romans 6, Paul wrote that the believer’s old self died with Christ on the cross and the believer’s new self was raised with Christ when Christ was resurrected from the dead! Therefore, the Christian is to walk (live) in the newness of the resurrected life! That is what Paul was referring to in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where he wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJ) So the first resource for living the Christian life is the fact of our position “in Christ!”
Secondly, not only is the true believer “in Christ” but “Christ is in” the true believer! Paul wrote to the Roman Christians in 8:9; “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (ESV) Jesus told his disciples in John 14:16-20 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (ESV) The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Comforter, the Helper; all of these are synonymous terms to relate the fact that God is in the true believer! Do you see that O child of God? God is in Heaven, but God is also in you! God is in the true believer; leading, guiding, encouraging, empowering, and transforming! Whenever we feel disconnected and as if God is so far away, it is only how we feel! It is not reality! God is closer than the air we breathe!
Another resource essential for living the Christian life is the Word of God! The Word of God reveals the mind and the will of God! Jesus said it best with the Old Testament quotation in the wilderness during his temptation. He answered, (the devil’s temptation) “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mat 4:4 ESV) I want to encourage you to take time to read and study the Bible everyday! Study for yourself! Don’t just take mine, your pastor’s, or any other preacher’s or teacher’s word for it! You need to be like the Berean Christians in Paul’s day. The Bible says; “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Act 17:10-11 ESV)
There is no substitute for Christian fellowship as a resource for living the Christian life! In the Bible, there is no such thing as a “solo Christian!” The Christian life was not designed to be lived in isolation, separated from other people! Contrary to what many believe, you can’t be a good Christian, separated from other believers, watching T. D. Jakes or some other TV ministry at home every Sunday morning instead of having fellowship at a local church! Now, if you’re sick and you can’t get out, that may be a different story! But even then, you ought to be part of a local fellowship of believers who will come to fellowship and minister to you through visitations and practical ministry. All things being equal, every believer should be part of a local fellowship of believers! The Christian is part of the “Body of Christ!” No “body” has only one part. The church is not an amoeba; it has many members and each member needs the other members for mutual care and support!
I could go on and on, by mentioning prayer and many of the other Christian disciplines that are resources for living the Christian life, but I just wanted to encourage you to live a victorious Christian life by reminding you of just some of the resources at your disposal. Paul asked, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 ESV) No matter where you are in the world today, as you are reading this, as a child of God, I want to encourage you to live the Christian life with a sense of enthusiasm and confidence! You can’t lose with the stuff you use! Even when it seems like you are losing from the world’s point of view, you are still winning! How can you really lose if you are in God and God is in you? Be encouraged knowing that no matter what you are going through, God is working it out for your good! And what is “the good?” The ultimate good is that we might be conformed to the image of His dear Son! That’s what the Christian life is all about; making us, shaping us, molding us, into the image of Jesus! It all goes back to Genesis! Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Sin entered into the world and the image and likeness of God in man was marred and distorted. But Thank God for Jesus! Paul said of Jesus: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15 ESV) So, if Jesus is the image of God and it’s God’s will to conform us to the image of Jesus, then ultimately, goal of being a Christian (“a little Christ”) is that through Jesus, the image and likeness of God be restored in us! Hallelujah! I love it when a plan comes together! Praise God for all He has done, is doing, and is going to do in our lives!