God Has Not Left Us Alone

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else, not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” ( Ephesians 1:19-23 NLT)

One of the challenges of living the Christian life is laying aside our self-effort mentality. Somehow along the way, most of us fail to connect “salvation by faith” and “living by faith”. We know that our salvation is vested in Christ alone but seem to have trouble connecting that living for Him is also vested in Christ alone.

God never intended for us to live our life in our own strength. Many believers live with the attitude that they will “do the best they can to live for God and then if they get in trouble they will ask for God’s help.” But God never intended for us to go it alone.

God Wants Us Dependent
Nothing pleases God more than for us to lean and depend on Him for every aspect of our life. Matter of fact, I believe that is what the Christian life is all about – turning every segment of our life over to his control. Why is that important? God can order and direct our life better than we can. He has a master plan that includes us. We were born for a specific purpose, during a specific time in history. (Psalm 139, 2 Timothy 1:7-9)

It’s clear from Scripture that God draws us to Himself so that He could empower us with “the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead …”. We have as our daily resource the power of God. This power was not given to us to better cope in this world, but it was given in order that we could live above this world. That’s because God is not only preparing a place for us, but He is also preparing us for a place.

The power of God sets us free from the entanglement of the world, but it also allows us to be content in this world knowing that we are here for a purpose. Wherever God plants us and whatever circumstances we find ourself in, God is there in that moment with the full power of heaven to help us see our way through with grace and purpose. Therefore, our end purpose in every situation is to glorify God.

Bottom Line
Are you drawing on the “…the incredible greatness of God’s power?” If not, it’s there for you; it’s found in the person of Christ who indwells you. God is poised and ready to carry you to the next level of maturity and trust. He wants you to live daily within the realm of His mighty power, trusting Him to do the miraculous.

Many years ago I heard a sermon by Evangelist John R. Rice. He was preaching about prayer and how God desires for us to live at a higher level of trust. I will never forget the illustration he gave to conclude his sermon. He said, “This is what I think will happen just after I get to heaven. After I pass through the pearly gates an angel will usher me to a huge warehouse. He will open the door to the warehouse and point to the vast array of blessings. Then he will say to me, “John, these are all the blessing you could have had if you had just asked. “

God wants us to live at a higher level of trust and dependence. He wants His children to trust Him for great things that only He can do. He wants to move us out of the “safe zone” to the “trust zone”. That will only come as we surrender our lives to His control and then begin to trust Him for the impossible.

“Satan is so much more in earnest than we are–he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.”
― Amy Carmichael

“Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” (Ephesians 3:19 NAS)

Who is Jesus to you?

When I was a child we lived just outside the Naval Air Station, so I had contact with lots of sailors in our community. One thing I remember is thinking that part of being a sailor was having a tattoo. I didn’t realize until I was a teenager that tattoos were not standard Government Issue for sailors.

To me the most fascinating tattoos were the religious ones because most of them told a story or revealed a particular belief system about God. Today is no different. Many of the tattoos you see today reflect a religious belief and sometimes may also reveal a person’s concept of Jesus.

Regardless of what you think of tattoos every person has a belief system about Jesus that is reflected in their behavior. For instance, take the person who has never given any indication that they know or serve God. They suffer a tragedy and then blame God for allowing the tragedy to happen. It’s rather obvious that their view of God is “don’t bother me and I won’t bother you, but if I get in trouble I expect your help.”

Unfortunately, there are many concepts of Jesus that are outside of the biblical view of Him as God. In a recent article by Lee Grady he gives several examples of unscriptural concepts of Jesus.

1. The Rolex Jesus – This Jesus promises health, wealth, mansions and luxury cars.

2. The Santa Clause Jesus – He lives far away and visits rarely. He keeps a list and if you aren’t too naughty He gives you what you ask for.

3. The Rabbit Foot Jesus – Some people treat Jesus like a magic charm. They don’t know how to seek to know Him personally, but they figure if they show up for a church service a few times a year, or hang a picture of Him on their wall, they’ll be lucky when bad things happen.

4. The movie star Jesus – He is adaptable to your spiritual preferences. He lets you define your own morality. He’ll mix all religions.

5. The Rock Star Jesus – He doesn’t care how you live your life during the week. Words such as “sin” or “holiness” are off-limits because they are just not cool.

I think you get the picture. There are many false concepts of Jesus. But it’s not who we think Jesus is that’s important, but who does the Scripture say Jesus is?

Throughout Scripture the names of Jesus are revealed. But Revelation 19 best describes His name- “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. This is His true identity but this title also reveals our intended relationship to Him. He is our “King and our Lord”. When we understand who He is we will better understand our role and our relationship to Him.

He is King of Kings
That means that He is sovereign and there is no one in the universe that He is subservient to. We are His subjects and He demands our loyalty, our obedience and our submission.

He is Lord of Lords
This is one of the most radical realities of Christianity. This describes Him as the Supreme Ruler over the universe. Proclaiming Jesus as Lord means we obey what He commands us to do.

What does it mean to recognize and acknowledge Jesus as ‘Lord and King’?
Simply put it means that Jesus is your master. He is the one that you obey and you willingly give Him power over all your life. Your overriding goal in life is to obey Him and do His will. His will and plan is preeminent in your life, nothing else should take precedent.

I would never judge anyone’s motive for a religious tattoo no more than I would judge anyone who wears a Christian tee shirt. But Jesus is more than a cool tattoo or a stylish tee shirt. He is Lord and King of the universe and desires to be Lord and King of our life. Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul reflects God’s intention for those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and King.

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him; having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude…For in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2)

The Scripture says that “the mystery of Godliness is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1: 26-27) True godliness and biblical spirituality is wrapped up in the person of Christ. God thought the supremacy of Christ to be so important to the Spiritual health of the believer that He sent Jesus to not only die for our sin but to indwell and impart His very life to us.

God’s ultimate plan for mankind has always been for Christ to be preeminent in our life. He becomes preeminent when we acknowledge and receive that He not only died for us but as us. That picture is painted for us in Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

This judicial act was important in order that we might die to sin and no longer be slaves to sin. Allowing Christ life to reign in us allows us to experience continual victory over sin. (Romans 6:6-8)

Bottom line: Rest, victory, godliness, and holiness are not a result of what you do but are a by-product of who you are in Christ. By laying down your self-effort to “do things for God” and allowing Christ to live His life through you, the by-product will be rest and godliness. By resting in Christ and allowing Him to live His life through you, you will accomplish more for the kingdom than you ever thought possible.

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Col. 2:6)