Do I sit with Christ?
written by Michael McBane
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4 through 6.nas
Perhaps you are like me in this way. Throughout my Christian walk the Holy Spirit has had me revisit certain truths or as I was enlightened recently by another brother certain realities of what I have in Christ. There are things that we as Christians, especially we who have walked in what we assume to be the greater truths of God, discover are mere knowledge they have no present fruit. We have memorized the blueprint but cannot walk in the life it reveals. There is no application that reveals lasting, full and joyful life. We cease in duplication. We then have a blind spot in our vision and in our position in Christ. Until God in His great mercy allows us to be confronted with a conglomerate of confrontational things in life seeking to adjust us to God’s perspective we usually do not make a change. Out flesh perhaps is comfortable in excuse.
These confrontations are there to adjust us and reveal where we really are. Unfortunately we are stubborn and do not see this. But the reason God persists is that He wants us to be fruitful. He wants us to execute life in the love He has deposited in us fully and with joy. And HE cannot go against His love and purposeful intent of fully redeeming us. He does not lie. Christ as Paul reveals is a great mystery within us but His love to us, for us, and through us is not meant to be a mystery.
It is important to see that God’s grace often works in God’s time. We can even cry out for certain things but until our maker knows that we will not discard the inheritance of His healing and His deliverance we are contained in a mercy that squeezes us to the form God needs to increase within. So there is grace but there is also a responsive responsibility.
I am seeing that the real pruning is the constant attending of the vinedresser to grace His vineyard with every opportunity He can give us that will position us to bear lasting fruit. A fruit that is abundant and links to eternity. Our works destroy the bounty and nutrition of the vinedressers truth. Thus the reality to reveal God and to nourish those who partake of what God desires to offer through His fruit is limited at best. It is not what we can do for God but what He has done for us. When we begin to drift towards the vanity of doing something for God or making good in this world without following God we hide our light and our salt is tasteless.
As the time we live in continues to drift away from even the generalities of morality it is imperative that we know who we are in Christ beyond intellect. It must be our reality. If this is not so I fear many will erode and when the winds come they will crash and be fully absorbed into the ways of this world.
I and others have always sought to drive home the fact that we are being formed into the image of Christ. Though in my observance it seems at times that God’s formation has felt like a shoe thrown in the dryer, bouncing around making a terrible racket. And the finished result is a dried out shoe that has lost its pliable nature as it has become stiff and cracked. We must die in order to live.
I for one am not content to merely live. I want more then typical life and the confinement of such. So today I ask is this present life the place God has made for us? Is this the Kingdom among us, is this the Kingdom at hand? I think not. This observation is not condemning but truth, because the Kingdom is misunderstood and is typically offered in a general way. It comes to us in the words of those who offer a self imposed resurrection of principals nourished in the principals of a successful world vision. Now it is important that we make proclamation and when directed decree with faith so I understand the motive, at times. But I wonder if the misunderstanding at large is because we have not understood deeply who we are in Christ and the why and how of what Christ has given to us. If we do accept it, it seems most fail to retain it. Since our entrapment is primarily in the mind and we have not captured this finished and completed gift that God has given, therefore we must contend to renew our thoughts. (I am not drifting towards a positive thinking indoctrination so relax. But as a man thinks so he is.) But if we truly believe then should we not expect a certain activation of our belief with regularity?
I would submit that we have truly forgotten who Jesus Christ is and that He not only redeemed us but sits us with Him at the right hand of the Father. Adoption with nothing to keep us from the things that a Father would give to us. Again I say remember you sit with Christ. And if you do then you can see from a perspective that does not form our needs and desires from what is here but from how the Father is enlarged. It is all about love. We can not be insecure or fearful here we can not fret about tomorrow. We can let go and trust that our Father is faithful, period. But do not drift back towards the natural you are a spiritual man or women. You are complete in Jesus Christ.
For example we know there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. When we get down and out we minister this scripture to each other. But I tell you we must read it and accept it for its foundational intent. There is nothing that can condemn you or I when we accept the love of God. Nothing. We are shielded from all that would steal, kill or destroy. And we can extend in confidence this to others.
We can think and say, we come in the name of our Father and in the nature of His love. Many attempt to come in His name but not His love.They know of Him but they have not allowed Him to embrace them with a forever love. They have not partaken of it. If they had they would come with confidence not in themselves or a boisterous character but as an ambassador who represents more then we can imagine.
Part of the entrapment is the cultures that we allow to be created around us.These cultures preserve the comfort of patterns that become established. We can often have more identity in these patterns then in Christ. We are creatures of habit. Change is straining to our mindsets. Particularly change that demands that we see ourselves as men and women who are meant to be Spirit led, Spirit filled and in truth we are to be of the Spirit. This can challenge how we have lived life, how we do live life and our decisions and the applications of Jesus in us. Our fellowship is good and should be a bountiful feast but it should never enable life that will not establish a continuity.
Therefore to prevent our fellowship communities from becoming short lived they must not prevent intimacy with God as the primary life force that allows the continually evolving life of God to grow. This must be encouraged and in fact looked for as we gather. Life as it is in heaven should be ever increasing among us. Christ then is always ultimate.When we cease to rightly discern the body this can be a sign that our fellowship is not based on the foundation of intimacy with Jesus Christ. We have established our own head and drifted away from a healthy and respectful fear of God.
I think many of us have been pulled if not pushed out of the seat we have been given with Christ. We have accepted a down cast life and find it hard to lift our head. MAny are distracted with the artificial business of “the church”. We wear a heavy cloak that keeps us from eating all that is ours. We then partake of dung because we want to see if we are still alive. It is time to look up and see again. It is time to feel again. Be cleansed and receive Him, today.
If we are really aware of the reality of Christ in us, there is not one of us who would not be challenged in how we live, what we say, what we do, what we think. My friends this is big... this is truth and it is sorrowful because the truth of Christ in us is so big and we have so denied it. We here must see how much grace we live in but we must also know that we have fallen so short and fallen into the entrapment that denies the reality that we have been bought and transferred from a kingdom that is dark to the fullness of the resurrected life of Christ. Nothing is left out in the victory of Christ, nothing.
I am convinced more then ever that we are meant to walk much differently then we do. So much so that it will contort us. But I also see that God has been persistent in directing many towards the true high call of Christ that permeates them and there will be a people who are not encumbered. Who see that much of what they have done is for another time but even so they do not loose heart. True hope exudes from them. If we are a people of God created vision then we will be steadfast in calling for its birth and maturity. Even if we do not see it we carry it linked to eternity and it is passed to those we know as our children in hope. We are nurtured with the cry of hope to hope and glory to glory and not without present life.
In my walk there have been seasons were I have been drawn to certain teachings that have been meant for a season or for a precise deposit. Some have also been meant to draw a certain amount of dross to the surface of my heart so that it could be skimmed off, furthering the process of my purification. Some of these seasons have been meant to direct me or even redirect me to recover my error. I see now that I stayed to long amongst certain persuasions and they did not act as a fertilizer but became distractions taking on a life of their own. In a way much that is taught in Christianity can dismantle God’s grace and demand of our life in such a way that we have no influence on this earth. We then begin to lean upon our own understanding. We begin to think that in our study or application of such we have achieved something. We cease to lean upon God and without intent we are making our own way. We may think that we are teachable and in some respect we are. We may think we are abiding, and in some respect we are. We may think of ourselves as humble and in some respects we are. But we have drifted into a place that is tiring and one that we at times gasp for life in. Many here are always in conflict and fighting to be right. We have searched for the life we had known and tasted, what happened? The rest of God has escaped us. Oh’ but God is so very merciful.
Have you ever met a Christian who is in the most undesirable natural circumstances and perhaps that has been the external portion for a long season yet they exude the fragrance of Christ like an incense that comes directly from God’s presence? I have on many occasions. I am always drawn to a place that has a holy jealousy for what I have just witnessed. I usually question what is missing in my walk and at times have walked away from those encounters changed in some way. They usually seem to be in much rest, they do not banter particular truths or feel to change me or others. I can feel as if I were being cleaned up by the lack of outward determination they exhibit. I think I can say that this is a place that we can be challenged to seek. It was Christ in them releasing the hope of Glory.
I was once told a story about a lady who worked for a particular ministry to street people. She herself had been a street person and had been transformed by God. As time went on she was asked to live in the homes that were provided by this ministry for those who served, such as she did. She was incredulous and responded by saying, ‘How could I ever give up what I have? For Jesus Himself visits me nightly in my hand made street shelter and this is the bread of My life.’ She had captured the intimacy of God and refused to stray from it.
Now we do not have to be homeless to experience such but she had been apprehending something that is not readily part of the abiding equation of most if not all of the folks I know, including yours truly. But I would like to be able to cast that type of shadow.
I long to fellowship with the life of Christ in others. I have been with those who have stored up concerning this earth and are so full of themselves that I feel as if I am being choked when I speak with them. But I have been with those who unfold a banquet of present moment life that launches my spirit into fresh applications of what God planted in me. Here I am refreshed and my perspective is from my place in Christ. Interestedly, I find life is pulled out of me from even unbelievers when I am in this place. This is the water of a normal Christian life.
I have so much in me I could write on, but I truly think that there is life in what I have written. Therefore I will stop and add to this with another part. But I hope that you are being pulled to the hope of God in Christ from my words.