Close to Knowing Christ, Near Christ, By Christ, or In Christ? – Purity 671
Purity 671 03/04/2022 Purity 671 Podcast
Today’s photo of the setting sun being reflected on the frozen surface of the Schodack Creek from the vantage point of my front porch comes to us from yours truly as I was motivated to get out of my car and go around to the front of my house to capture this sight at the end of the work day yesterday.
Even though the temperatures were chilly yesterday, I found myself rejoicing over the sunshine and my relationship with the Lord as I reminded myself once again of how He has blessed me with my home “down by the River”.
Now wait a minute, you may say, didn’t he just say it that the sun was reflecting on the frozen surface of the “Schodack Creek”?
Yes I did. Although the waters directly in front of my home are declared on Google Maps to be that of the Schodack Creek, they are fed by the Hudson River just down the road a piece. When I look to the left from my porch, I can see the waters of the Hudson River and the point where the River splits to become the Schodack Creek.
So even though there is a “creek”, ( and a state highway, and some Amtrack train tracks for that matter), directly in front of my house, I know and can see that these are the waters of the Hudson River. So when I refer to my house, I have always, I’m pretty sure for the most part, called it my house “down by the River”.
Now when people ask where I live I have said that I live on State Route 9J in Stuyvesant which is “right on the Hudson River”, south of Albany, because State Route 9J, the road on which I live, runs parallel to the Hudson River all the way from Columbiaville to Rensselaer NY.
When I tell people “I live on the Hudson River” I am always clear that I don’t have river access because the property across the highway, where the train tracks run is not deeded to me. But as other photos I have taken in the past from the front of my property, that pan left, show, I do have a wonderful view of the Hudson River.
Since my wife has come to affectionately call my place “River House” and we both call it that now, and as today’s photo was focusing straight towards the creek in this photo, my heart is convicted this morning to confess all the truth regarding the location of my home, short of providing everyone with my exact address, which I guess is “out there to be discovered” and, available on a need to know basis. I also will not be giving a tour of the interior of my home or at least, not today anyway.
Well, with all that said, I am happy to report that we have made it to the weekend, and it is my prayer that all my friends take some time to thank the Lord for all He has done in their lives and how He made a way for us all to be reconciled to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.
You know, one term for being a follower of Jesus is being “in Christ”. And that designation can be a little confusing,
Being in Christ is a little like my house “down by the River” or my address being “on” or near the Hudson River.
Obviously, Jesus came to earth as the Word made flesh over two thousand years ago when He lived a perfect sinless life, preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, performed miracles, was persecuted, tried, crucified, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Try saying that three times fast….
Anyway, to be literally “in Christ” in some weird physical sense like being “in the heart of Jesus”, is a physical impossibility. Being in the “body of Christ”, does not mean being in His physical body next to His spleen and near His liver.
The physical body of Christ has been glorified and Christ is still using it as He is seated in the heavenlies where He is interceding in prayer for all His followers until the day He will return in glory to judge the living and the dead as the Bible, and the Nicene Creed, affirms. So being “in Christ” or in the body of Christ, obviously doesn’t literally mean being “in” Christ!
Being “In Christ” is a term that describes our relationship with Jesus. Christians place their faith “in Christ” – meaning we surrender to His Lordship; we believe that He was the Son of God and that His death on the cross was meaningful. Being “in Christ” includes believing that Christ’s death was God’s redemptive plan for man and that we believe it and participate in that plan by putting our faith in, or trusting in, Jesus to save us.
So in terms of justification (being declared righteous), when we are “in Christ” we make the decision that when we come before God we will not try to defend ourselves based on our own merits. When we are “in Christ”, we are putting all of “our chips” on Jesus and we are “all in”. When we are in Christ, we admit that we are sinners that have no hope of being declared righteous based on our good works or nice attitudes. When we are “in Christ”, we have admitted that there is nothing that can save us and that there is nothing that we are trusting in other than Jesus.
When we put our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, spiritually we are united with Christ’s death and resurrection. The person we were before we put our faith in Christ dies, and we are made new creations as we are raised to life “with Christ” “in His resurrection. Putting our faith in Christ, gives us a new spiritual life that will go on for all eternity in God’s kingdom, in heaven and then on the new earth.
So this is one reason why Christ said we must be “born again” in John 3. We receive new life when we are “in Christ”.
As I have tried to express, being in Christ is more than mentally agreeing that there was a man named Jesus who was a wise teacher or a worker of miracles. I can admit that other men have done good things and said wise things but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have a relationship with them.
Being “in Christ”, is even more than agreeing that Christ was the Son of God. Again, we can recognize that someone is special or has great authority, but our recognition of that fact doesn’t mean that we trust in them or submit to their authority.
Doing these things, acknowledging what Christ did or even who Christ is, could be described as being “close to knowing Christ”, or being “by Christ” or “near Christ”, but not “in Christ”.
Just like my house is “down by the River” or my address is “near the River”, my house and my address are not “in the River”.
So even though you may admit to who Christ is that acknowledgement only makes you “close” to Christ. And as the saying goes "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” which generally means that close doesn't count. A close loss is still a loss. And when you are only “by Christ”, “near Christ” or “close to Christ”, if you don’t get “in Christ”, you will be lost.
The difference between being in or out of the kingdom of God will be based on your relationship with Jesus.
Knowing about Him is one thing, putting your faith in Jesus and following Him is quite another.
When we put our faith in Christ, we become members of God’s royal family and membership has it’s privileges: like eternal life and the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives.
But you have to be “in it to win it”, so as we continue in the season of Lent before us I encourage you to draw close to God and confirm that you are “in Christ” by following the Lord’s will for your life.
And if you know the Truth, the Way, and the Life already, be sure to share Him with those who may be “close” to knowing Jesus but whose selfish hearts may keep them out of that number when the saints go marching in.
Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is :
Mark 9:23 (NLT2)
23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
Today’s Bible verse comes directly from the words of Jesus and is part chastisement and part encouragement for those who doubt the ability of God to help them.
This section of scripture details one of Christ’s miracles where Jesus heals a boy who is afflicted with by an evil spirit which causes him to foam from the mouth and to be violently thrown about. The boy’s father asks for Jesus’ help but adds the phrase ‘if you can” to his request.
Jesus responds with today’s verse, chastising the father’s lack of faith, but encourages the man by assuring Him that anything is possible to a person who believes. Christ’s words are proven true as this man decides to proclaim his small measure of faith, and although he requests help with his unbelief, is rewarded t with a big miracle, as the evil spirit is cast out of his son at the command of Jesus.
The operative lesson that we can draw from this testimony from the life and times of Jesus Christ is that we are to have faith in Jesus to help us and that because of who Christ is and because of what God can do, we should never declare anything as impossible.
The biggest lie the enemy tells us is that somethings are impossible. The enemy will tell us that it will be impossible to get out of certain situations or that it will be impossible for us to change.
But when we get that discouraging and demonic message, we have to remember that anything is possible with God and that our faith in Christ gives us power to do things that simply were impossible before coming to Christ.
So don’t proclaim your unbelief, instead trust that all things are possible with God if we believe and it is in accordance to His purposes.
Remember, we don’t know God’s plan perfectly, so we might not always get what we want but when we are in Christ we always get what we need.
And if you need something that seems impossible, go to the Lord and He will either work out a positive solution through a miracle, but more likely though His providence, or He will give you the strength, love, and guidance that you will need to carry you through.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Codependency: Balancing an Unbalanced Relationship.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
F. Recovery Step #4: Find the Road to Freedom
When you are behaving in a codependent way, you are trying to get your needs met through a drive to "do it all" or to be another person's "all-in-all." However, you can "travel the road to recovery" by releasing your desire to control or to change the person you love.
Recognize that you are overly dependent on a person and instead place your dependency on God.
Admit that your codependency is a sin.
- Pray that God will give you the desire to put Him first and to please Him in all your relationships.
- Determine to look to the Lord to meet your needs for love, for significance, and for security.
- Realize that God did not create you to meet all the needs of another person.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Examine your patterns of codependent thinking.
Don't believe that pleasing people is always Christlike.
- Don't think that you should always assume the role of peacemaker.
- Don't fear losing the love of others when you allow them to suffer the consequences of their negative actions.
- Don't say yes when you really believe you should say no.
"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." (Psalm 51:6)
Let go of your "super responsible" mentality.
Confess that you are trying to be like God in the life of another person.
- Trust God to be actively working in the life of your loved one.
- Realize that you cannot make another person be dependable or responsible.
- Rest in God's sovereign control over all people, events, and circumstances.
"What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone." (Exodus 18:17-18)
Extend forgiveness to those who have caused you pain.
Reflect on any type of abuse you have experienced in the past—verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual.
- What has been unjust and painful in your life?
- Whom do you need to forgive?
- Would you be willing to release this person and your pain to God?
- Choose to forgive again whenever your angry feelings resurface.
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)
Prayer of Forgiveness
"God, You know the pain I experienced in my past. I don't want to keep
carrying all this pain for the rest of my life. I release (list hurts) into Your
hands, and I ask You to heal my emotional pain. Lord, You know what
(name of person) has done to hurt me. As an act of my will, I choose to
forgive (name). I take (name) off my emotional hook and put (name)
onto Your emotional hook. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for setting me FREE.
In Your holy name I pray. Amen."
Appropriate your identity in Christ.
Learn to live out of your resources in Christ Jesus.
- Know the
truth: "I can be emotionally set free because Christ lives in
"If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)
the truth: "I can change my dependency on people through the power of
Christ in me."
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
the truth: "I will nurture only healthy, godly relationships because
I have been given Christ's divine nature."
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Set healthy boundaries.
Communicate the necessity for change.
"I realize that I have not been responding to you in a healthy way. I have been far too dependent on you to meet my needs. And I have sought to meet all of your needs. I am committed to having healthy relationships and to putting God first in my life. I know that I have had negative responses to you, and I intend to begin having positive responses by making decisions based on what is right in the eyes of God."
what you need to ask forgiveness for.
"I realize I was wrong for _____ (not speaking up when I should have, not being the person I should have been in this relationship...). Will you forgive me?
what your limits of responsibility will be.
"I feel responsible for _____. But I am not responsible for _____ (making you happy, making you feel significant...). I want you to be happy, but I don't have the power to make you happy."
your limits of involvement.
"I want to do _____ with/for you, but I don't feel led by God to do _____."
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." (Proverbs 27:12)
Exchange your emotional focus for spiritual focus.
Make God and your spiritual growth your first priority.
- Attend an in-depth Bible study in order to learn the heart of God and to grow spiritually with the people of God.
- Memorize sections of Scripture in order to put God's Word in your heart and to learn the ways of God.
- Redirect your thoughts to the Lord and take "prayer walks" (talking out loud to the Lord as you walk regularly in your neighborhood or on a trail).
"Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." (Psalm 119:35-37)
The cure for codependency is rooted in developing an ever-deepening relationship with the Lord. Your increased intimacy with Him will naturally conform you to His character. When you let the Lord live inside you, you can live in His power. This means that because Christ was not codependent you have His power to overcome codependency.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
"Lord Jesus, I renounce as a lie the thought that I could ever be truly abandoned or alone.
—Thank You that You will never abandon me or leave me without support.
—Thank You that no matter what I do or what my circumstances, no matter who is in my life or not in my life, You will be with me and provide for my needs.
—Thank You that Your plans for me are for my good and that You will carry them out.
—Thank You that You are not dependent on anything or anyone other than Yourself to bring about Your good intentions toward me.
I trust in You and You alone to give me meaning and purpose and fulfillment in life.
In Your holy name I pray, Amen."
Biblical Counseling Keys: Codependency: Balancing an Unbalanced Relationship..
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