Recently the phrase, “Christ in me”* stirred my imagination. I don’t know where the inspiration for the song came from, but in Galatians 2:20, Paul talks about Christ living in him. The same is true for all who are followers of Jesus. Christ lives in each of us.
Back to my imagination—what does Christ living in me look like? How would my daily life be different if I allowed Christ to live through me instead of me doing what I want when I want?
I thought about what I had read about Jesus in the Gospels and immediately thought of three ways I could allow Jesus to live through me as He lived His life on earth.
- Showing love and patience even when I don’t feel like it. Sometimes when our dog or my daughter’s dog has been underfoot all day I will exclaim, “You are on my last nerve!” I try to never say that to anyone other than the dogs. But there are times when I feel like I’ve had enough and want to retreat to a quiet place. There was a day in Jesus’ life when He was trying to have a quiet time with God, His Father, because He had had an especially hard day (Matthew 14:1-21). But the people followed Him anyway. Jesus responded with compassion and fed over 5,000 people. Yes, we all need a break, but more often than not my selfishness causes my impatience. When this happens I need to pause and pray for strength, remembering Christ’s love and patience for me.
- Identifying with the other person—seeing life as they do. Jesus’ whole life was about identifying with us. He left His Father’s presence. He took on a human body, which came with limitations we will never understand. Philippians 2:5-8 describes Jesus’ experience. “Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and die a criminal’s death on a cross.” The commentary in the Life Application Study Bible states, “The incarnation was the act of the preexistent Son of God voluntarily assuming a human body and human nature. Without ceasing to be God, He became a human being, the man called Jesus. He did not give up His deity to become human, be he set aside the right to His glory and power. In submission to the Father’s will, Christ limited His power and knowledge. Jesus of Nazareth was subject to place, time, and many other human limitations. What made His humanity unique was His freedom from sin. In His full humanity, Jesus showed us everything about God’s character than can be conveyed in human terms.”**
Jesus gave up a lot to become a human. In doing so He identified with us. He experienced life from our point of view. He also showed us how to live a God-honoring life as a human. Since Jesus gave up so much for us, can’t we do this for others? Then we can better understand and help them.
- Generous with love and undivided attention. Each person Jesus interacted with experienced His love and undivided attention: the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-8), the widow from Cain whose only son died (Luke 7:11-15), the “woman who had lived a sinful life” and anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume (Luke 7:37-50), and many, many more throughout the New Testament. When Jesus was talking with someone, He was present, not distracted with the needs around Him. This is something God is speaking to me about often. Be present. Be focused on the person in front of you. Our culture selling us the lie that we can multitask—be on our devices and communicating face-to-face at the same time. It is impossible. How do you feel when the person you are trying to talk to is texting or scrolling? This is not the example Jesus gave. Nor can I imagine Him being glued to a cell phone while ministering to people. Love is shown through undivided attention.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is hard for me to process the Bible into my life. How will this work or what will it look like? Jesus helps us with that. He showed us how to live in the way God intended.
“Christ lives in me.” If He lives in you, do any of the above ways inspire you to let Christ live in and through you? I’d love to hear what you’re thinking.
*from Jeremy Camp’s song, Christ in Me (Sparrow Records, 2015).
**Life Application Study Bible: New Living Translation. (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2015), 2016.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.