Getting a grip on Christian life
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2014
Talk to a new Christian or an older one who has been serving the Lord for many years and they’ll probably agree that living the Christian life is not easy.
Being a Christian is more than an instantaneous conversion. It’s a daily journey of learning to live more and more Christ-like. We must continually deny our old human nature and be transformed by His Spirit into a new nature that intentionally chooses to follow Christ.
Author Charles Swindoll has written, “To be like Christ. That is our goal, plain and simple. It sounds like a peaceful, relaxing, easy objective.” He goes on to say, “It is neither easy nor quick nor natural…only Christ can accomplish it within us.”
I remember hearing Bible teacher Ian Thomas explain how to live the Christian life. His illustration gives a vivid description of what the Scripture means about Christ living in us.
As a glove is made in the likeness of a hand to contain the hand, so mankind was created in the image of God. There’s an emptiness within each of us that can only be filled by a personal relationship with God Himself. We cannot live the Christian life in our own strength and abilities, just as the glove can do nothing without the strength of the hand.
Suppose you told a glove to pick up a book. It’s got a thumb and fingers, the shape and form of a hand; but no matter what you tell it to do it’s unable to pick up a book. But, as soon as you put your hand into that glove, the glove becomes as strong as your hand. Everything possible with my hand is possible for that glove.
Ian Thomas writes, “You are the glove, Christ is the hand!” The apostle Paul put it this way, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
The story is told that Martin Luther, leader of the Reformation during the 1500’s, answered a knock at his door. “Does Dr. Luther live here?” the man asked. “No,” Luther answered, “he died, Christ lives here now.”
The Apostle Paul’s testimony should be the testimony of every Christian. He said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives within me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Pastor and author A.W. Tozer described a real Christian this way. “He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible and hears the inaudible.”