I spent many years as a sincere defender of the faith before events revealed to me that did not know a personal Jesus. Many Christians do not. They think that because they belong to ‘this religion’ and ‘do’ this religion that they ‘know Jesus’. Thus the question that comes to us from the zealot, ‘Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?’ This is a good question, as irritating as it can be, especially when it comes from a disciple of Christianity more than a disciple of Jesus.
‘Disciple’ in the Kingdom sense means we are the expression of Jesus as us through incarnation. It means that we know Jesus as being in us and with us. It does not mean that we are disciples of ‘Christianity.’
THE REAL THING
While Christianity is practiced as a religion this is not its essence. Rev Gordon Moyes was right when he said, ‘Christianity is not a religion. It’s a person.’ Incarnation will produce the fruits of the Spirit and the Vine, but to view religion as the Vine is a big mistake. Living from religion is like drinking the milk carton instead of the milk. Our inheritance in Jesus is very simple. It’s Christ manifest as us. We call this life in the Spirit and the result is Christ in your flesh – Christ as you.
COMMUNION OF THE SAINTS
There is joy and satisfaction to be had with fellow Believers. But the presence of God is not contained in church. Christ is in you. There is much joy to be had as the community of faith when we come together as people for whom Christ our life. The reality of Christ in all is the Kingdom of God.
AGENTS OF LIFE
Incarnation makes us alive with spirit and life. It makes us co-creators of the new creation, which is not holiness done in churchiness. But the power of the new creation set free in the world.
When we know that we are as holy and in fellowship with God in our garden or office as we are in church or on some holy day, we are practising what God has given us in Christ. The power of a holy life and life-giving agency.
YOU ARE NOT SEPARATED
There is no split life in God, no dualism. You and we are one with His life. This is the new creation. The issue is to actually meet the Lord in our person. As the story of Mary and Martha show, we can be near Jesus but not with Him. Being with Him depends on our knowing that union with Him and sitting at His feet as a way of life will produce more kingdom fruit, more holiness in the ordinary and more spirit and life in the everyday than religious business.
NO HOLY JOE
Know that you are at His feet when you are out and about as much as when you are in your prayer chair: When you believe. Oneness with God is a state of mind and a state of being. It’s the mind of Christ. It’s you and out Father as one.
If our good deeds are about earning merit, don’t expect that our efforts will produce much life in a kingdom sense. The active non-believer can change conditions but the active person in oneness with Jesus irrigates any situation with spirit and life. Unfortunately the nature of busyness as an end in itself is lifelessness.
“The Lord Jesus meets us as the Light and the Life of God in the form of a personal being. We may know Him through personal faith and commitment as we indwell the whole presentation of him in the gospel story and in the preaching and teaching of the apostolic witnesses. When clothed with his revealing and saving acts he comes to dwell in us through the presence of his Spirit. We come to know Christ today as the Lord and Saviour in the same way as the disciples and their converts came to know him at the very beginning, when they called upon Jesus to save them from their sins, worshipped him, and prayed to him, and glorified him.” (1)
Christ our life is not a burden or effort. It just is. This is your rest and your creativity as an agent of the new creation. You don’t multiply religion but you do multiply spirit and life.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 51). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.