Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Amazing Love in Christ

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Eastern Tiger Butterfly on Thistle
Shenandoah National Park
by Donna L. Watkins

I've been reading a book gifted to me by a friend.  It is one of those that you get transfixed on a few pages and seem to plant yourself there determined to get it down into your heart and not just filed away in your mind as knowledge and information. 

The Temple Within - Fellowship With an Indwelling Christ by Milt Rodriguez is the name of the book. It seems God has been surrounding me with messages about who I am in Christ. About Christ dwelling in me. It's not a thing that you can absorb and understand with a Scripture or two. Paul used the term 'in Christ' over 200 times in his writings.

Milt Rodriguez says, "If you are a Spirit-born believer, then YOU are in Christ! This is not just some lofty philosophical or theological theory. This is reality, this is fact. As you sit there, reading you are literally inside of Christ Jesus! I don't know how to say it more clearly. You are in Him. Just as an unborn child is inside of its mother, you are in Him. Just as a seed is inside of an apple, you are in Him. Sit back, close your eyes and dwell on the fact that you are actually in Him right now. Sense Him being all around you. Christ is your environment. Even though you are in the world, you are first and foremost in Christ. This means that He is your immediate environment, the environment of this world is only secondary. He is your atmosphere and your hemisphere. He is your world, but He is also your universe."

Isn't that an amazing way to see it!?  We tend to think and pray as if God were "up there" somewhere, but He lives inside of us. He created earth for us and then created us in His image. He had so much love to give that He wanted to create something to give it to. God was never lonely. He had Jesus and the Holy Spirit to fellowship with but They wanted to share that overflowing love with a being that would have free will to love in return. How often have you prayed and asked for God's presence to fill a place or gone to a meeting hoping to feel the presence of God? God is with us. He said He would never leave us or forsake us. He's is within us.

Who You Really Are In Christ
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One segment of the book that hit home was this: "You may be struggling to get your mind around this idea of being in Christ and it just isn't working. This is just all too much. How can we ever really understand this mentally? Well, you really can't. This is much bigger than your intellect will ever be. Paul told us (1 Cor. 2:14) that these things can only be understood spiritually. The natural mind cannot grasp the things of the spirit. Being in Christ is one of those things that is totally out of the "ballpark" of the natural mind. So I suggest you don't even try to figure it out. Just accept this fact by faith and allow God to sink the revelation of this truth deep into your spirit."

What a direct approach to the problem of mere humans trying to figure out God. I admit that I have spent a lot of time pondering the "in Christ" thing because God seems to be sending things my way this entire year on this topic. And my approach has been to try to figure this out ... trying to imagine it being so. How silly it was to try to comprehend something that needs to be spiritually revealed.  Even if we could understand with our minds ... it's having this revelation in our hearts that changes our lives.

Now I simply ask for more and more revelation to grasp the fullness of this amazing provision that God has given us. A God that loves us so much that He wants to be within us. Remember when you were so "in love" that you didn't want to be apart from the target of your adoration? That adds a bit of understanding for us, but God's love is so much more powerful and without expectations or conditions.

The Temple in Jesus' time had three areas and one of them was called the Holy of Holies where only the priest could go once a year to atone for the sins of the people. When Jesus said "it is finished" the curtain separating this part of the temple from the rest was torn in two from top to bottom. It is said that it was about 60 feet high. God wanted us to know that we now had access to Him. We no longer needed a priest as a go-between. We could come face-to-face with God and know Him. 

Milt says, "[Jesus] is the place where you meet with God. He has enveloped you with Himself and so there is no need to go to any special place in this physical realm to fellowship with Him. You don't need to go to a particular building, or house, or even a room to be with Him. You are already in the Temple. You are already in the Holy of Holies."

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In John 17 Jesus prays for His disciples (v. 6-19) and then He says He doesn't pray for only them but for all who would believe in Him (v. 20). That's you and me. In verse 26 He says, "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Do you see that God the Father loves us as He loves Jesus? That is also unimaginable since we have such a difficult time of even comprehending unconditional love even within our own family, much less for those who have "sinned against us." But God loved us so much that He Himself came down to earth to become sin for us, so we would mentally be able to consider our sins paid for and could have the relationship with our Creator that He always wanted us to have. Amazing love.

You may need to read this many times to begin to comprehend that amazing love. But as you grasp it a little more each time it will reach deep into your soul and provide a peace and joy that the world cannot understand. When circumstances are absolutely awful, you can choose to stay connected to the Vine and draw strength and nourishment from Him. When the world seems to be falling apart, we can go to the "secret place of the Most High God and abide under His shadow." (Psalm 91:1) God has always had provision available to us, we just need to reach within and apply it.

Author Bio
Donna lives in Central Virginia with a wonderful husband and a cat named Squeek. She is a lover of God, nature, wildlife, birds, gardening, photography, travel, simple living, natural health, pets and seeking a peaceful, healing lifestyle. Life has many hurts and sorrows but within "the [divine] nature in us" we CAN overcome. You can also find her posts on  and Twitter.

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