When Is Christ Being Seen in Us?
Excerpts from When Is Christ Being Seen in Us?
For a long time I wondered, “If Christ is my life, how will I know if He is being seen in me?” This is an important question because Scripture says that Jesus Christ desires to live His life in and through us. (p. 1)
What will Christ living through you look like? When is Christ being seen in you? Could there be a way to answer these questions that will be both encouraging and empowering to us and glorifying to God? That’s what this book will answer. (p. 1)
How can I strive to have Christ live His life in me?
I am not asking because answering it results in a conundrum, an unsolvable puzzle. For if Christ is to live His life, and if this is a life of rest, how could it be entered by our striving? So striving and struggling will not produce this supernatural life. Trying to imitate Christ’s character qualities, or the fruit of the Spirit, or the aspects of agapē will only lead to frustration and unrest. David Needham says it well: “God has not asked us to exchange one kind of stress – the stress of the world – for another kind – the stress of holiness.” Someone else has said that if we work to get out of the work system (being under Law), we will find that it does not work! This is hardly the easy yoke and the light burden that Christ promised.
Yet I labored under this yoke and burden for a long time. After 37 years of this I saw that I would never be able, even by my most earnest and best efforts to emulate Christ’s character, the fruit of the Spirit, or the aspects of agapē love. (p. 4, 5)
The Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for love (as well as Galatians 5:22 and many other places in the New Testament) is agapē. Lenski portrays its meaning:
[Agapē] is the love of intelligent comprehension united with corresponding blessed purpose. So God loved the world, understood all its depravity and purposed to remove it. He could not embrace the foul, stinking world in philia, but He did love it with agapē and sent his Son to cleanse it. We cannot offer affection to our enemies who would smite us in the face; Jesus did not love the Pharisees with philia and does not ask us so to love our enemies. It is agapē that He asks, the love that understands the hatefulness of the enemy and purposes to remove it. This distinction comes to full view in John 21:15-17. (p. 8)
 David Needham, Birthright (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1995, 1999), p. 189.
 R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, and to the Philippians (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1937), p. 291. Lenski has many other sagacious observations on the Greek text.
Christ being seen in someone’s life is so compelling!
Although I see great hope in Christ’s power and inward presence to make me one who lets Him shine through me, I do not think I let Him do this as consistently as I could. So I see myself as one who is in process.
My Friend Ray
The Lord has been very good to me in bringing several people into my life who are further along in this process than I am. I am concluding this study with one of them. As I have observed this man over several years, he strikes me as one in whom Christ lives with such freedom that he actually reminds me of Jesus.
Others have concluded this as well. One of our Exchanged Life Ministries Texas staff who spent three weeks with him, day and night, in our Advanced Training and Teaching in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, told him in our closing session, “Ray, as I think of what Jesus might be like if He were physically present with us, I think He would be very much like you: loving and caring in what He said and did.”
Now I want you to know something more about Ray’s present and past. In the present he is not a mealy-mouthed, Casper Milk Toast, wimpy type of man. Though kind, he is straight forward and not passive. But in the past Ray was not always a walking personification of Christ. He told me that when he was in college he was self-centered, critical inwardly and outwardly, and his tongue was acrimonious and sarcastic.
What transformed Ray from this to one who is Jesus to people? I’ll let Ray tell his own story:
After struggling in the real estate market, the Lord showed me that my identity was rooted in my success in business. When the business declined, my weakness surfaced. I arrived home one evening in despair. I threw myself on the floor before my wife and stated, "If this is all there is to the Christian life then I have had enough."
At the suggestion of my sweet bride I called my Sunday school teacher. He asked me a basic question, "What does the cross of Christ mean to you?" After a short pause, I wondered what relevance that had to my current situation. I responded with an explanation of salvation that would have made my other teachers proud. After another pause my mentor asked, "What else does the cross mean?" I knew I was about to receive a nugget of truth at this point. My friend began to share the "full" result of salvation that included not only the blood of Christ that granted forgiveness, but also my co-crucifixion and co-resurrection with Christ. These were truths I had never seen before. I began to study Romans, chapters 6, 7, 8 and Galatians, chapter 2. As I studied these passages I saw the "Hope of Glory" and His touch on my life. (p. 21, 22)
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