Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
In a previous post we saw that when the apostle Paul said, “Jesus Christ is in you,” he was not speaking metaphorically. He was speaking of the wonderful fact that Christ as the life-giving Spirit actually comes into those who believe in Him. We looked at eight verses that confirm and enrich our understanding of this wonderful reality.
Of course, our knowing Christ is in us isn’t for a mere doctrinal understanding. Christ lives in us to be our life. So in this post, we’ll discuss how we can experience Christ living in us in a practical way.
What does this look like?
Let’s say we have a problem with losing our temper. We know this is our weak point, and we struggle against it, trying again and again to suppress our temper. But when something irritates us, we become angry and lose our temper. After a while, we calm down again. Ashamed and convicted, we confess to the Lord and ask Him to forgive us. We experience His forgiveness and our fellowship with Him is restored.
But maybe we go on from there and pray something like this: “Lord, please help me to not lose my temper again. Please give me more patience.” Yet the next day, or maybe even the next hour, we find ourselves in another situation reacting with impatience, and our temper flares up again. After praying earnestly for patience, our temper remains unchanged, and we have no more patience than we had before.
We find ourselves in a frustrating state of affairs, and we wonder why the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers. What’s wrong? The problem is this: the Lord doesn’t want to help us control our temper outwardly. He doesn’t want to give us patience.
What does He want, then? The Lord Jesus wants to be our patience.
For Christ to be able to come to live in us was not a simple matter to accomplish. He took some tremendous steps for this to happen. So it doesn’t make sense that He would want to merely help us live good Christian lives by ourselves, occasionally asking Him for help when we feel we need it.
Christ wants us to see that from the time we believed in Him, He came to live in us to be life to us and to be lived out of us. As the Spirit, He is now living in our spirit. First Corinthians 6:17 tells us that we are joined to the Lord and are one spirit with Him. Since this is the case, the Christian life is not a life we are meant to live by ourselves, by our own strength, with packages of things like patience and self-control distributed to us by the Lord. Rather, the Christian life is a life in which Christ is the One living and doing everything in us, with us, and through us. He wants us to take Him as our life, our source, in all our circumstances.
How can we experience Christ living in us?
If we really see that Christ lives in us, we will know He is never far away; He’s right within our spirit, present with us in every situation and ready to be applied at any time. He wants to live in us in every instance. So how can we experience this?
Let’s return to the example of our temper. Something vexing happens, and we feel our temper rising again. Here we would usually and unsuccessfully try to suppress our temper. But instead of trying to suppress our temper, if we would right there, at that moment, turn away from our struggling self to Christ in our spirit, He would be in us exactly what we need. When we turn to Him, we experience Christ in our spirit as the enduring One, the patient One. Then instead of living by our natural, failing life, or hoping for a packet of patience that will never come, we experience the One who is patience dwelling in our spirit and being lived out of us and expressed through us as the real patience.
How to turn to Christ in our spirit
One of the best ways to instantly turn to the Lord Jesus in our spirit is to call upon His name. As we call upon the Lord Jesus, we contact Him as the indwelling Spirit in our spirit. Depending on the circumstances, we can call, “Oh Lord, Lord Jesus,” quietly or, if we’re alone, loudly. In the midst of our upset, He quiets our being and becomes our living patience.
Romans 10:12 says that the Lord is “rich to all who call upon Him.” How is He rich? He is rich to us in patience, in calmness, in longsuffering, in endurance, in whatever we need to face any particular circumstance. He Himself is everything we need.
As we turn to Christ by calling upon Him and contacting Him in our spirit, we enjoy what He is to us. Romans 10:13 tells us:
“For ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
This “shall be saved” refers not only to our initial salvation; it also refers to our daily salvation, after we believe. We all can admit that we still need to be saved from many negative things, such as our temper, every day.
Note 2 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version says:
“To be saved here means to be brought into the enjoyment of the riches of the Lord. The Lord is rich to both Jews and Greeks. All who call on the Lord’s name enjoy this rich Lord; as a result, they are filled with Him and express Him.”
So on the negative side, we get saved from our temper, but on the positive side, we enjoy more of the riches of Christ and Christ is expressed out of us!
Instead of asking for and expecting to be given a thing, such as patience, we experience a wonderful Person, the living Christ in us, as the real solution to our problem. By calling upon His name, we take Him like an all-inclusive dose that meets our every need and cures our every “sickness.” He is our peace, humility, love, hope, kindness, joy, and so many other riches! We enjoy being joined to the patient and virtuous One within us, and we experience Him as our life and everything.
Day by day, knowing Christ our life more
We can enjoy the Lord’s indwelling when we begin our day by spending time to contact Him in our spirit, confess our sins to Him, open to Him, thank Him, fellowship with Him, praise Him, and pray His Word back to Him. The more we do this, and the more regularly we do this, the more we will not only know that Christ lives in us but also enjoy Him in our spirit.
Then throughout the day, we can continue to call upon the name of the Lord to experience Him in all the situations of our daily life, turning to Him in our spirit to be one with Him. By calling on Him in every situation, we can be saved and enjoy the riches of all He is. Instead of expressing our own reaction to things, we will begin to express the Christ who is our life, automatically and spontaneously. Praise the Lord, Christ lives in us!
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