I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated lately, but I think it just dawned on me what it is. There are a number of people in my life that I know are believers in Christ and love God, but they don’t quite understand the fullness of what God has done for and in them. The Apostle Paul dealt with the same thing. He wrote the Galatians and said, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”
More and more I am seeing that my frustration comes from a desire for my fellow believers to know Christ in them. I’m not talking about just believing Christ can or did save them; I’m talking about him living his life in and through them.
There are so many that think Christ is there to “help them.” That may be a good start but that isn’t at all what God intends for their life. He isn’t into helping us he is into living in and through us. At first Jesus did tell his disciples he would send another helper to come alongside them. When it came right down to it though he told them He, the Father and the Spirit would take up residence within them. Thus fulfilling the promise given way back in Ezekiel 36:26-27: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances.”
Jesus went on to use the illustration of vine and branch to describe our relationship with him. He said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” While being a branch is great it really is only there to express the life of the vine is it not? I mean without the vine the branch couldn’t do anything but wither and dry up. We really are a vessel meant to be an expression of Christ to the world around us. A branch would never think the vine is there to help it would it? No. It would only forever be focused on the vine and letting the life of the vine flow through.
Sometimes I think the modern church is really only some new version of the Old Testament Temple. We have this idea that God lives in a building and every week we are to go meet with him there. I’m telling you that is a lie! Listen to what God says as recorded in Isaiah 66:1 thus says the Lord, “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool. Where then is a house you could build for me?” I for one think Paul had it right. He knew God’s intention was to take up residence within each of his believers. Paul even said, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Let me conclude by saying this. If you are sensing a frustration because of “church as usual” never fear! Maybe it’s really birth pains. Paul described his feelings as “labor” in longing for Christ to be formed in the Galatians. What if this is the pains just before a great awakening, or birthing, in the very ones you are praying for?
Written by Louie