How does life change ~ now that Christ is in me?
or to ask it another way; are the changes only related to my inner being, or are there outworkings into my physical circumstances?
This is such an important question because is goes straight to the heart of the matter ~ it distinguishes between our motivations for surrendering ourselves completely to the work of Christ on the cross. On the one hand the object of our faith is “earth-bound issues”, and on the other hand the object of our faith is “Christ”.
Prosperity teachers would tell us that the work of the cross is all about removing the obstacle that was blocking the flow of the blessings of God to us… but is that primarily the work of the cross? was there something far more fundamental taking place on the cross ~ and if so, does that mean that the flow of blessings is simply an outcome of something much greater?
The thing that we “fix our eyes on” is essentially the thing that is our motivation. If our motivation is wrapped up in getting our earthly issues resolved (finance, relationships, health, troubles), then we may be fixing our eyes on the outcome, rather than on Christ Himself.
Let me make a statement at this point; I firmly believe that every ill and trouble known to mankind which is a result of the presence of sin in the world, was fully resolved and defeated on the cross. There is no problem known to the believer that has not been answered in Christ ~ but does the physical resolution of these issues take place because we make them the focus of our faith, or are they resolved as the overflow of making Christ the focus of our faith.
When Christ declared in John 10:10 “that He came to give us life” ~ was He saying that He came to resolve our circumstances, or that He came to resolve us? If He came to resolve our circumstances, then we must fix our eyes on that task. If He came to resolve us, then we begin to fix our eyes on “Christ in me”… this results in the vitality of heaven, the very life-substance of Christ achieving the impossible – simply as we rest in Him… our circumstances must ultimately yield to that powerful life.
In effect the original instruction by God to Adam “subdue the earth” has been re-empowered in us by this “life of Christ” ~ and it’s up to us to place faith in Christ and watch these circumstances slowly bow to His life.
Funny thing is that the more we fix our eyes on Christ, the less overwhelming our circumstances become ~ the ultimate result being that we don’t pay them as much attention as we used to, and the power that sustains them shrivels up for lack of air.
It’s not surprising that we want our circumstances sorted out – nobody wants pain, trouble, lack and poverty. These matters are extremely compelling, even life threatening ~ they inhibit our ability to function effectively in life. I guess that’s the whole point of this discussion “do we function effectively in life because our circumstances are in order, or because we have discovered the revelation that Christ has made His home in me?”
In practical terms, I see it working like this… Initially my circumstances continue unabated, if I allow myself to see them as greater than Christ, then by my focusing on them I provide fuel for their continued rampage ~ if on the other hand I discount them as inferior to the power of the life of Christ, then I remove the source of their energy and ultimately they run out of puff.
I am very conscious of not being trite or super-spiritual as I say this, I do not wish to diminish the difficulty of the lives of many who follow Christ ~ the fact remains though, that Christ’s work on the cross was sufficient to destroy every ill known to man, and our part is to rest in that sufficiency.
The difference between my life prior to this revelation and now, can be summed-up in one word – ‘Faith’. My previous life was defined by the word – ‘Hope’… I hoped God would come through, I hoped He would fix up my circumstances, I hoped that He would release me from fear and anxiety ~ now I rest in Christ (Faith) ~ the key to this rest is that I had to decide once and for all that “God is good, that He loves me, and that He can be trusted”.
Sure I have my wobbly days, at those times I go back to my decision and remind myself; “God is good, He loves me, He can be trusted” ~ and then I live in that decision, instead of fear and anxiety about my circumstances. My circumstances bow; sometimes quickly, sometimes more slowly ~ but it’s ok because I’m learning that I don’t live in my circumstances, I live in Christ.