Who are we In Christ?
We are purchased.
We belong to Him.
We are brand new.
We are adopted into the King’s family.
We are children of the living God.
We are royalty.
We are forgiven.
We are saints.
We please Him.
We are holy–set apart for sacred use.
We are cared for.
We are protected.
We are comforted.
We are dearly loved, adored and cherished beyond measure, beyond comprehension.
But … we are not God!
I have always known that in my head, but not in my heart. I had to go on a journey to learn it, to move it from my head to heart.
We all go on a journey. God paints us a picture of our journey using the Jewish people, His chosen ones of old. They are taken captive in Egypt just as we are taken captive by the enemy and made slaves. Then God, at the perfect time, frees the Jews in a mighty way to show His incomparably great power. Each family kills a lamb and sprinkles its blood over their doorposts and the Death Angel passes by them. God takes the “Perfect Lamb” and sprinkles His blood over our hearts and death passes by us. The Jews cross the Red Sea (the color is no accident) into freedom for the first time in 400 years! We cross over as they did into complete freedom. Oh, how we rejoice.
But like our spiritual ancestors of old, we have crossed into the wilderness. Soon after crossing, God gave them the law. Deuternomy 8:2, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you, in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.”
So this test in the wilderness was put there by God. He tests us to see whether or not we will keep His commands. Does God need the test for Himself? Absolutely not. He knows we cannot keep the commands. The test is for us! He needs to prove to us we cannot. Just like the Jews could not keep the law, we cannot live the Christian life. God has to prove it to us using our own failures. We try and we fail, and we try and we fail again, and again. We complain and we build golden calves. We have to die in the desert. That is its purpose.
But oh, how we hang on to our own efforts. Somehow we think it is our responsibility, our job, our assignment to live the Christian life. We spend hours, days, weeks, months and years trying to get it right, to please God. After all, we have great motives. We are so very grateful for our salvation. Somehow, eventually we think we are going to get it right. We always add “with God’s help.” But it is our own effort (my friend calls it “efforting”). We never arrive. We have to die in the desert.
My journey was pretty easy for a long time. I grew up in a believing, loving family. I loved being a good girl. I loved Jesus and I knew He loved me. In retrospect I realize that I wanted from my peers the same sense of security I felt at home. I wanted to be popular, to be wanted, desired, and adored. Ultimately I wanted to be worshiped. I cannot help but think we all do. We just cannot admit it.
Then I met Prince Charming. I transferred all that desire for love and acceptance to him. The first 30 years we did life, our “efforting” looked pretty good: four kids, a business, Church, and friends. We were a family, partners, lovers. But flesh is flesh and after 30 years of marriage we lived a year from hell. It did not happen overnight; it had been years in the making. I was trying so hard to get it right. That treadmill is exhausting. I needed to die in the desert.
I heard recently a wonderful quote that rang true for me: “God permits what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves.” That is exactly what He did in our lives. God permitted what He could have prevented in order to save us from ourselves. He had saved us from Satan and slavery to sin, and now He would save us from our own “efforting.”
God woke me up one morning and told me that I didn’t have to be God in my life any longer; now it was His turn. It was time to cross the Jordan!
There is a Promised Land this side of Heaven. We need only to die to ourselves to cross over. God parts the waters and we cross. So, what is this Promised Land this side of Heaven? It is Christ in us, the hope of glory. It is no longer our glory we seek. It is His glory within us to be revealed by Him. Galatians 2:20 states: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
In the Promised Land I no longer live my life. He lives His life in me and through me. In becoming Christ-like I am not becoming a little Jesus. I begin to look like Him so that He can express Himself through me. Oh, what a glorious thought. I rest and He lives. The battles are His, and therefore, the victories are His. I take no credit, for it all belongs to Him.
Part 1 of 2
From Lifelines, published by Abiding Life Ministries International. Reprinted with permission www.AbidingLife.com
For more on the typology of the Egypt to Canaan journey, see 1 Corinthains 5:7;10:1-12 and the Grace Note by William Boardman.- JBW
Lifetime Guarantee Ministries has a free download this month on “Overcoming the Flesh.” This MP3 audio program from our associates, Bill and Anabel Gillham, is available courtesy of Lifetime.org.