Colossians 1:27 - To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
We heard various pastors speak at a ministers conference at our church last week. Although the conference had no formal theme it seemed to be self denial and brokenness. While painful sounding topics, these are what is required to be a follower of Christ...not just for pastors who are called to be servants, as we all are.
There are numerous scriptures that tell us when we receive Christ we are not only called His children, we are in Christ, we believe on (in) Him and are to be like children to a parent, under His authority. But...we are also told He is in us. How can we be in Him and He in us? How many really like being told they need to submit to someone else? Hmmm? Ouch? This is what God demands.
He comes to us and leads us to Himself. He opens our heart that we might receive Him. And when we deny ourselves and are broken under the weight of the understanding of our own sinfulness, He comes into us in the form of the Holy Spirit, who gives us power...the power to understand and to obey. It is a greater power than what we think we have.
Growing up Lutheran and later in life having no faith in anything but myself, I'd heard about the Holy Ghost but knew nothing about Him. I might have understood then that He was a part of the Trinity. But for my feeble mind, until in my 50's, only God and His Son were the important two...but certainly not part of my life. So for those 50+ years I lived under my own power, my own strength, my own ideas of what was right and my own rebellious ways. In a short time I learned otherwise, as the Spirit of God began to tap on my spiritual shoulder.
Coming to Christ opens a part of your self that can receive wisdom, knowledge and truth. This comes in head knowledge but also in your spirit through the Holy Spirit which is the important part. When you are willing to be led by this Spirit your life is changed. Romans 8:14-16 explains this mystery: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God... Without this Spirit we are not sons of God. Plain and simple.
This is what makes it so difficult for others to comprehend...and more often sneer at. This added wisdom and knowledge imparted through the power of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with my own wisdom. This wisdom is only received by coming to Christ...something anyone can do if they are willing. It must be a desire, as Philippians 3:10 states: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...
Pastor Lee Shipp talked about how the Holy Spirit used an average yet willing teenage girl to conceive and birth the Son of God. It was the work of the Holy Spirit, not the work of man. When we come to Christ and we become one in Him, it is also a work of the Spirit of God. And yet He comes into us too. When we are broken of our ways which are of man and allow Him to have His way, He is birthed in us, spiritually, like Christ in Mary. Receiving, which also means letting go of ourselves, our pride, may be painful, but what happens after is well worth the pain. And...God produces no bad thing. Pastor Lee also stated: that which He has put in us, must also be something which He can take out. In other words, evidence of that Spirit at work in us. Thy will, O Lord, not mine.
Christ came to die for us. He expects us to die to ourselves for Him. He didn't come to save those who are healthy, but those who are sick (Matthew 9)...and we all fit into that category since we are all sinners, no matter how good a life we life...we are all dead in our sins until we receive Christ. And it requires one more act of dying to self to receive Him! Jesus' mother, as willing and submitted to the Father...and the Holy Spirit...needed her Son's salvation. No one is without this need. No one is righteous on his own. No one can call himself a child of God apart from Christ. And this only comes when we allow ourselves to be broken, deny ourselves and submit to God's authority...receive Christ and receive the power of His Holy Spirit.
Just this week I've seen endless scriptures about our salvation through Christ. Nothing new, just more focused on them, I guess. Not our own merits, deeds, ideas of righteousness, contributions...in other words works. It is through Christ alone and that takes bending a knee or prostrating yourself to Him, humbly seeking His forgiveness, receiving Him, His Spirit...and then allowing the power of that Spirit to control our lives...which should be broken at this point.
Heavenly Father, if I have not been broken enough and have not denied enough of myself that the real power of Your Spirit might take over, I pray You would hear my prayer and do what You need to do within Me. Empower me, Lord, for You to use.
Ephesians 3:16 - that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man...