If you've ever led people to salvation in Jesus Christ, you've probably invited them to ask Jesus to come into their heart. As Paul wrote in Colossians 1:27, Christ IN US is the hope of glory. Thus, it is perfectly appropriate to pray for Jesus to come into our hearts. But today, God is saying that He also wants to invite us into HIS HEART. It's an incredible invitation!
In His heart are the secrets of the universe and the plans and strategies He has for our future and His Kingdom. It's where we learn about what He loves and what He hates. But, not only that, the Scriptures inform us that there are many incredible and powerful blessings when we find ourselves IN HIM. The fact that He wants to invite us into His heart should overwhelm us with both great gratitude and off-the-charts excitement.
In John 17, Jesus prayed that His disciples would be one. In verse 21, Jesus prayed, "[T]hat they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one IN US, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." This is the first incredible promise for those who are in unity because they are together IN GOD. The promise here is that we will have the power to enable the world to believe that Jesus was sent to Earth by His Father God. In other words, we will have the power of God flowing through us in such a way that unbelievers will become Believers; cursers will become worshipers; the hopeless will find hope in Him.
Blessings in Him
What, then, are some of the other blessings that caused Paul to declare in Philippians 3:8-9 that he considered everything he had ever achieved before knowing Jesus to be rubbish or dung, and a total loss, in order to gain Christ and be found IN HIM? The first thing Paul mentions is that he would gain the righteousness of God by faith in exchange for his own righteousness. He knew this was a total win for him and worth every possible sacrifice and earthly loss. That's exchanging filthy, stinking robes of the flesh for glorious and beautiful robes of royalty. Come on now, that's truly the deal of a lifetime!
In verse 10, Paul adds several more benefits of being found in Him. The first is the privilege of knowing Him. We often like to brag, or name drop, that we know a famous person or two. Paul desired to know the Creator and Savior of the world. He knew that being found IN HIM was the way to get to know Him. Paul then adds that being IN HIM would help him know or experience the "power of His resurrection." That's more than a little power. I believe it's not only the power that raised Jesus from the dead, but also the power He received from His Father when He was raised.
Finally, Paul added a privilege only those who know Jesus in deep intimacy will appreciate. He declares that being IN JESUS would enable him to know or experience the "...fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). Paul knew that the greater the death to self he experienced, the greater the resurrection power he could be trusted with. (Photo via Pixabay)
Even today, we have observed that most people, who are being powerfully used by God, have experienced times of extreme suffering, where they had to die to their own desires and ambitions and embrace the cross that they had been called to bear. But today, people like Heidi and Rolland Baker, and so many others, are doing incredible things for God through the power of His resurrection, because they have experienced the "fellowship of His sufferings."
Let's now visualize the two concepts:
1) Christ IN ME.
2) Me IN CHRIST.
If Christ is just IN ME
A. He goes with me wherever I go.
B. He is hidden, while I am seen.
C. He is dependent on me to listen to His advice while I make the decisions.
If I am IN CHRIST
A. I go wherever He goes.
B. I am hidden, while He is seen.
C. He is in charge and makes the decisions.
Now think of this picture. If I am inside my house, I am protected from storms, heat, cold and intruders. I also have provisions stored up, available at any time. Outside, I am vulnerable.
Here is another picture: David often talked about God being his High Tower – a place of protection and safety. You have to be IN HIM to be protected.
And here is one more picture: An unborn baby in the womb. The babe is not only protected, but it is also nourished by the mother. In Christ, we are both protected and nourished.
Now here are two very familiar verses:
Romans 8:1. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are IN CHRIST JESUS, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Paul knew that to be hidden in Christ Jesus meant that the arrows of condemnation from the evil one could not reach him, hidden inside his great Commander-in-Chief. He adds that those who are hidden in Christ Jesus will walk according to the Spirit, rather than the flesh, because they are IN HIM and walk where He walks as He leads by His Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is IN CHRIST, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new." Notice it's not those who just have CHRIST IN THEM, their hope of glory, but those who are IN CHRIST. If we find ourselves still doing the undesirable things we used to do, it's time to pursue being IN CHRIST.
In summary, I am making the point that I am missing out on incredible blessings if I am content with having CHRIST IN ME, and not pursuing being IN CHRIST, like Paul did.
All Things Are in Him
We've just scratched the surface when it comes to passages talking about being in Christ. Ephesians, for instance, is full of rich expressions of the blessings of being in Christ. But let's just highlight Ephesians 1:10, a powerful verse that reveals God's eternal purpose for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. (Photo via Unsplash)
"[T]hat in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things IN CHRIST, both which are in Heaven and which are on Earth – IN HIM." (Emphasis mine.)
The Father, in order to fully honor His Son, Jesus Christ, made plans for everything in Heaven and Earth to be contained in Him. That's a huge WOW! And we get to be in Him now.
This is what I'm hearing from the Father: "The hour has come in which I will open wide My arms and My heart to all who are weary and frustrated with the warfare they face, trying to overcome the enemy and his tests, trials and temptations. My arms and My heart will be open wide, and My Spirit will draw you like a powerful magnet deep into the secret places of My heart. Truly, you can never exhaust the depths of My heart, but I am inviting you to try. It will become your greatest adventure, and in it you will discover the richest treasures in the secret chambers of My heart, and a place of complete rest in your soul.
"I will fight your battles for you, and you will rejoice in My victories over your enemies. If you count the cost and compare it with the reward, the cost will seem like nothing and the reward will overwhelm your heart with joy. For you in Me and I in you is the secret of love and joy and power."
How Do You Pursue Being in Him?
So how do you pursue being in Him? Like Paul said, he was willing to forsake his entire resume in order to know God. Simply seek Him with all your heart and say "YES, LORD!" to His every request. It's asking forgiveness when we fail and determining that the pearl of great price is worth any cost. Yes, it's pretty much that simple. If you want to make it more official, write out a simple covenant with God and sign it. Then keep it in a place where you'll see it often.
Remember that God knows your frailty, but His Holy Spirit will empower you to do exploits for Him. I hope to see you IN HIM!
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Ben R. Peters
Kingdom Sending Center
Ben and Brenda Peters¬†have said "YES" to the call of God to challenge, equip, and send dedicated lovers of Jesus into the harvest fields of the earth, including the seven mountains of society. Together they have ministered to tens of thousands of individuals in several countries of the world. After establishing and serving churches and Christian schools for almost thirty years, they began a traveling ministry under the name Open Heart Ministries.¬†More recently, they also founded an Illinois-based ministry called Kingdom Sending Center. Ben has published over 23 books. Ben and Brenda now live near Sacramento, California, close to most of their children and grandchildren.
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