Many Christians today seem content to live what they think is an adequate Christian life. They believe if they go to church, read their Bibles from time to time and say their prayers once in a while, they will be all right with God. Occasionally, they may be inspired to go above and beyond their normal routines and volunteer to serve others as ushers, members of a church committee or even travel on a short-term mission trip. Though they go through the motions of being a “good Christian,” they do not enjoy the power, peace and joy that should come with the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10. Eventually, the counterfeit Christian life they’re living becomes a burden and does not comfort them when the storms of adversity come.
This was not what you were created for. God does not call you or any believer to a marginal Christian life characterized by chores and rituals. He desires to have a daily relationship with you where you experience His presence and trust Him for wisdom, courage and strength in all situations. With every step you take, decision you make, conversation you have and thought you entertain, the Lord wants to glorify Himself through you. He desires to shine in your life — with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control illuminating your unique talents, traits and personality as you walk in obedience to Him.
In other words, to live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live in and through you. That is why Paul wrote, “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 gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). How do you allow Jesus to do so? In what way does He live in and through you? If these two questions seem difficult or confusing to you, you aren’t alone. Many people never realize how powerfully Christ could demonstrate His life through them. This is because many believe that the key to living the Christian life starts with pious acts, when it really begins with a deep, intimate relationship with Him.
Therefore, to answer the first question — How do you allow Jesus to do this? — you must realize the answer comes by working on your relationship with Christ. You do this through Bible study, prayer, worship and fellowship with other believers. You not only learn about Him, but you must also listen to Him, because He will teach you how to love Him, live for Him and walk in His ways. The answer to the second question — In what way does He live in and through you? — is as unique as each believer who follows Him. This is because He has a special purpose for your life, and the most important thing you can ever do is simply obey Him, no matter what He tells you to do. God will allow situations and troubles in your life that only He can solve. This is so He can demonstrate His glory, power, love and wisdom through you.
With every step you take, decision you make and conversation you have, the Lord wants to live through you. Is there anything distracting you from having an intimate relationship with the Lord? Have you failed to trust God’s sovereignty? Are you worried that you’re not doing enough to deserve a relationship with Him or that you could lose the eternal life He has given you? Then you need to return to the basic truth that your salvation is through faith in Christ and not by works. There is absolutely nothing you can do to earn it or be worthy of it. The issue is not your salvation, but the impact of your life for Christ and the joy and fulfillment you receive from Him. God does not call you to an adequate life —He wants it to be extraordinary. However, for you to experience the life He planned for you, you must stop being distracted by peripheral issues and focus your attention completely on Him. Can you do it? Can you trust Jesus to live His life through you and take care of all that troubles you? Of course you can. The God who redeems you can teach you how to live for Him. The Savior you trusted for your eternity is more than capable of taking care of all the matters that burden you daily and shining through you brightly so that others can know Him and be saved. Therefore, die to your notions of what the Christian life should be so you can experience true life in Him.
This Sunday at South Side, we will begin a new series entitled “Better,” where we will talk about how to live a better life in a four-week series. Worship begins at 10:45 a.m., and we would love to have you worship with us! For more information, check us out on Facebook or at www.southsidewch.com.
Barry Pettit is lead minister at South Side Church of Christ in Washington Court House.