Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In Christ (Inseparable Chapter One)

Thanks for joining me again as I reflect on the Bible study Insepearable: Who I Am, Was, and Will Be in Christ by Ashley Linne!  I am glad you are here.

Chapter One reached out and grabbed me from the beginning just like the introduction.  I love this sentence: "The truth is, no matter who I am, Christ is the same today as He was yesterday and a thousand years before that."  This is a concept that gives me great comfort.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He is not a fickle God.  He does not change His mind as the wind blows.  He is faithful, steadfast, and true.  I can depend on Christ because He is forever unchanging.  When I am in a rough spot, Christ will still be the same loving, just, gracious, protector as He is when I am in a good spot.  No matter who I am, or what I am going through, I find peace in knowing that I am talking to the One who created it all.

I wrestled with the next part of the book.  And I am still wrestling with it.  Here Ashley says that the key to being shaped in Christ's image is to stop "putting Jesus first."  Anybody else just do a "Say what?  Stop putting Jesus first?  What kind of book is this anyway?"  The rationale here is that putting Jesus first indicates that there are some areas of our lives where He is not allowed at all.  I wasn't sure I agreed with that statement.  But discussing it with my breakfast buddies gave me a new perspective.  Instead of viewing my life as a ladder with Jesus at the top rung and everything else falling under that, maybe I should think of it as a wheel.  Jesus is the center, and everything should be a spoke coming out of that center.  Every spoke--every part of my life--must go through the center of the wheel.   If every single area of my life is centered on Jesus, then I will be radiating His image.  That makes more sense to me.

The main theme of this chapter is that the Holy Spirit lives in us, and that makes us in Christ.  The Holy Spirit guides us and directs us, leading us to be more Christ-like.  He comforts us, prays for us, and helps us make decisions.  We are in Christ because the Holy Spirit lives in us.  "Not only is God the Holy Spirit always there; He is the most important thing about you.  He defines you.  If you're anything like me, you've spent a whole lot of time trying to figure out who you are."  How would you answer this question?  Who am I?  I am IN CHRIST.  And nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, neither depth nor height nor anything else.  (Romans 8:38)

I really connected with the next part of the text.  She said through all the bad times of her life, it was the Holy Spirit that held her together.  "And through all this brokenness, at the end of myself I discovered God."  That is exactly my experience after my divorce.  Through all the heartache and brokenness is when I really, truly discovered God, and He carried me through that difficult time.

We are all made in Christ.  This is a common bond that ties us together.  But we are also uniquely gifted and talented.  We can appreciate God's goodness and creativity in making us all different while binding us all together through the power of His blood and the grace of the Holy Spirit.  

Romans 8 talks about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  There is no condemnation for those in Christ.  (8:1).  We are liberated from the law of sin, like setting a slave free.  (8:2).  We are brought to life by the Spirit.  (8:5).  We can be sure the Spirit lives within us.  (8:11).  We are to abandon the oppressive regime of our flesh and sinful natures (8:12).  When we are too weak to pray on our own, the Holy Spirit will take over and pray on our behalf (8:26).  All things work together for good, according to His plan, when we believe in Him (8:28).  Nothing, absolutely nothing, can come between us and the love of God. (8:38). That chapter has so many promises to give us hope.  We can cling to these truths when we are feeling discouraged or unworthy.

In Christ, we are Inseparable.

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