February 7, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me, to live is Christ." Philippians 1:20, 21
The testimony of Ian Thomas could be the experience of so many who have yet to know the joy and reality of "Christ, who is our life." You say, "To the best of my knowledge, I am truthful with myself, to others, and to God. But there is something lacking in my life. I do not have the steadfast confidence that the indwelling life of Christ is the source of my strength, my power, my sufficiency, or life itself." At age 15, Ian Thomas dedicated his life to full-time service. For four years he was active in every Christian endeavor. He was planning to be a missionary to Africa and exerted his time and energy to the point of exhaustion. Yet he felt like a complete spiritual failure.
One night Thomas wept before God, confessing his utter failure. God focused his heart upon the message of "Christ, who is our life." The impact of Paul's testimony moved his heart: "For to me, to live is Christ." The words of Christ, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Paul's admonition, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear," then we shall be like him (Colossians 3:4). It was as if God was saying, "You have been trying to live 'for' me the life I have been wanting to live 'through' you. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Your peace, joy, victory, and power are simply the "out-living of the in-living Christ"!
Dr. Raymond Edman, former president of Wheaton College, gave this analogy: "The secret is simple, yet it is profound. It is plain to have our heart fixed with faith and obedience, yet perplexing to our self-will and self-effort. The 'exchanged life' is an 'obtainment,' not an 'attainment.' It is a 'gift received,' not an 'achievement' to be earned. It is all from 'above', not from 'within us.' It's a life that 'arises out of death to ourselves,' not from any 'deeds we have done.' " What is the familiar pattern followed by so many who have experienced this glorious exchanged life?
First, there is agony of soul, an awareness of our need. The Holy Spirit makes clear to us our "utter incapacity" to live this Christian life effectively and fruitfully, in our own strength (Galatians 2:20). He is Lord of all. Second, we follow in unreserved abandonment to Christ, "our members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:13). He is our authority and sovereign! Third, there is an "appropriation by faith." The Holy Spirit fills the whole of our lives with the fullness of His presence and power (Romans 12:2). He is our life! Fourth, we are to "abide in Christ." It is not striving or struggling, but resting in the Faithful One, receiving from Him our every need (John 15:5). He is our sufficiency! Fifth, we are receiving from Him the life-giving waters from the Fountainhead of Life, that from our innermost being "shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). He is our resource!
There has to be a crucifixion before there can be a resurrection. You can't drive those nails into your hands; God has to do it. We want to hold on to our security, but it's hard to do so with those heavy spikes through our hands. You see, God demands that we let go of everything, IF HE IS TO BE OUR LIFE. To let go of our life is to gain His life in all its fullness, sufficiency, and glory!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-02-07
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