The Real Thing

September 16

The Real Thing

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 104:31-35 | Isaiah 22:1-24:23 | Galatians 2:17- 3:9 | Proverbs 23:12

Today’s Scripture Focus: Galatians 2:17-3:9

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20, NIV).

The real thing—the heart of the gospel—is Christ living in you and me. The key to living the Christian life is not trying hard to live by the rules in my own strength and power. It is all about a grace based relationship with the one who loves me most—Jesus.

By faith we exchange our life for his; our desires for his; our strength for his. By faith we rely on the power he supplies through the Holy Spirit. By faith we recognize that we are dead to the “self-life”—all of our attempts to do it on our own, all of our selfish motives, even our self-righteous attempts to please God that are filled with pride. Our best attempts to do it on our own get us nowhere. In poverty of spirit, we come to Christ—our prodigal hearts revealed—and in humility, surrender our lives to Him. As we open our hearts to Christ, he comes and fills us with himself. He dwells in our hearts through faith.

We maintain that relationship the same way we enter in by grace through faith. By his grace and power given to us by the Holy Spirit, we can “say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and…live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). It can’t be done through human effort, only through the power of the Spirit.

It is a life of faith, “The life if I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God…”. We can always choose to go back to the self-life. We can always choose to go back to the old way but there is no life, meaning or purpose there. It only makes everything a mess. Life lived to the full, life abundant and free, is to be found in an ongoing, dynamic relationship with Christ where he lives and reigns in me; a relationship where I have learned to trust him daily to give me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

Too many have not entered into this great exchange. They haven’t found the freedom of Christ living his life in theirs. Come to him today. Open your heart to Him. Give him everything and you too can enter in to life abundant—life lived to the full.

Lord Jesus, I open my heart to you. Come live in me—rule and reign. Clean house, remodel my heart and make it new. Train me by your grace to walk in step with the Spirit that I might glorify God in all I do. I take up the yoke to follow you, knowing that you are there to guide and strengthen me on this narrow path that I might find rest for my soul. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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