COLUMN: Christian life only possible with Christ

Published 7:30 am Sunday, March 17, 2024

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Let’s face it. Living the Christian life is an adventure with challenges and victories, trials and triumphs.

As one songwriter wrote, “If I never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them. I wouldn’t know what faith in His Word could do.”

There’s something every Christian needs to know. No matter how much you love God and desire to serve Him, you can’t do it in your own strength.

Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul wanted us to us to know that when we are weak, that’s when God can be strong for us.

Major Ian Thomas, an Englishman and Bible teacher who came to speak in Andalusia years ago, shared some practical illustrations on what it means to live the Christian life. These illustrations are included in his thoughtful book, “The Saving Life of Christ.”

Thomas defined being “in Christ” as redemption from sin, meaning your Christian life begins with salvation when you asked Christ to forgive your sins. That’s when Christ comes into your life to make you more like Him, therefore “Christ is in you.”

He stressed the importance of both. “To be in Christ makes you fit for heaven, but for Christ to be in you – that makes you fit for earth. To be in Christ changes your destination; but for Christ to be in you – that changes your destiny. The one makes heaven your home – the other makes this world His workshop.”

He went on to say you wouldn’t want to buy a car with a powerful engine under the hood and spend the rest of your life pushing it. You would soon become exhausted and consider the car useless.

Yet when God redeems a person through the precious blood of His dear Son, Jesus Christ, He puts a powerful engine “under the hood.” As a Christian, the resurrection life of Christ through the Holy Spirit comes into that person’s life.

I believe Major Thomas was telling us that, in spite of that divine power, we try to live Christ-like in our own strength when we cannot. He taught the same principle using the analogy of a glove. Suppose you told a glove to pick up a Bible. Even though it has the shape of a hand with a thumb and four fingers, it cannot do it.

But as soon as someone’s hand goes into the glove, it becomes as strong as the hand inside. When Christ, by His Spirit, lives within humanity like you and me – we are the glove and Christ is the hand.

As Ian Thomas said, Jesus Christ “is limited only by the measure of our availability to all that He makes available to us…The Christian life is the life of the Lord Jesus Christ lived two thousand years ago,” living in you!

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”