(John 14:10, 11) “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.”
We’re all familiar with the passage in Galatians 2:20 and others places where we are told that Jesus needs to be living in us: (Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” The question, however, is whether or not we know what it really means?
This can be clarified somewhat by what Jesus Himself said about the Father living in Him (see John 14:10,11 above). He points out confidently that His words are not really His own. Moreover, His works are really the Father’s works, too. The clear implication of these verses and the larger context is that His complete life — words, deeds, attitudes, compassion, love, values, mercy, judgment, anger, and even more were direct reflections of the nature and personality of the Father.
This finds application in our own lives, when we realize that letting Christ live in us is not a matter of a little here and a little there. Discipleship is a whole life commitment. All your old words, old works, old attitudes, old values, etc. are now to be dead. Instead all of Jesus’ words, works, attitudes, values, and more now find expression in our everyday lives — public and private. In every ordinary conversation, situation, social scene, Facebook post, way we spend our weekends, priorities we hold to, things we choose to eat or drink and their amounts, who we think about first (and last), jokes we tell and laugh at (yes, Jesus had a sense of humor), etc. our old choices should die and Jesus’ reign supreme. All the time, every day, everywhere, and under every condition. This is the way that Jesus let the Father live in Him.
But how do we know what Jesus’ reactions, responses, words, deeds, etc. would be like in our 21st century lives? Jesus was with the Father from the beginning and was inspired by the Holy Spirit, but how can we know. Many believe that we have to just sort of go along with our feelings and other relative and subjective “wisdom”. But we’re not at helpless as we might believe.
First, read the Bible. This sounds so simple, but it is so crucial. The Bible is God’s word. The stories are there so we can know about the nature of the Father. In both OT and NT we see the many facets of our God in many, many situations. In the Gospels we likewise see Jesus among friends, social situations, among enemies, and in the midst of thorny problems; we see His values, morals, priorities, and so much more. So, read. Not just to say that you did, but to associate with Him, come to know him, come to predict how He’d talk, act, think, and feel.
But secondly, we’ve been given the Spirit to help guide us (Ephesians 3:16). Now, this is not a touchy-feely offshoot of the charismatic world that I’m talking about. This help from the Spirit is preceded by a knowledge of Scripture (which the Spirit would never contradict) and a sensitivity to doing right.
When we become Christians, we are committing to die to ourselves and live to Christ. Will you? Or will you settle for a worldly version of Christianity, in which one may pick and choose the times we’ll be like Jesus? Let’s choose Jesus’ definition of discipleship.