By Greg Aitkens
We live and move and have our being in Him (in Christ.) Acts 17:28
Paul had become deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city of Athens. (Do we have a similar problem with idols in our world as well?) He had debates with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, where he told them about Jesus and His resurrection. They responded with, “What’s this babbler trying to say to us with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods”.
Paul explained the one true God to these educated men of Athens, who were very religious. However, they did not know God. Do we know God? Do we know Jesus Christ?
We live in a “supposed” Christian society, but to most people, God (Jesus) is still unknown. We need to proclaim who he is and make it clear what he did for us all through his Son, Jesus Christ. We cannot assume that even religious people around us (or ourselves?) truly know Jesus or understand the importance of faith in him.
The first important word in this Scripture is LIVE—living in Jesus. What does it mean to live in him? Who is Jesus to us? As Jesus spoke to Peter, He might ask us as well– “who do you say I am”?
We might say Jesus is Lord, Savior, Messiah, Redeemer, Divine and the King of Kings— and we’d be correct. He is all these and much more! However, these descriptions may just be words to us. We may offer lip service and good sounding words about who He is to us, however, we may not call Him the Lord of our lives.
When we are convicted about something in our lives from the Lord through his Holy Spirit, do we just reject, resist, or stiff arm Jesus? Do we ignore him and pretend he does not exist? Do we insist that our own plan for our lives is just better than the one our Loving Lord has in mind for us? Do we stuff Him in a box, and only visit Him when we are in Trouble or “need” something?
In my experience, much of the resisting we do about fully accepting Jesus is built around various Fears and Obstructions. Here are a few:
1. We will lose “control” of our lives to Jesus. Besides, we do not like being told what to do?
2. We won’t be able to have any fun anymore? Become a “goody two shoes”? No more boozing with my buddies?
3. We will become a Jesus Freak? What will my coworkers, friends and family think?
4. We doubt who Jesus really is, and we’ve never tried to discover who he is for ourselves. We demand that he reveal himself to us? Our mantra is SHOW ME?
5. We are steeped in guilt, shame, and regrets from our past lives? We cannot fathom how Jesus could ever forgive us.
6. We’d have to “change our ways” and lose many of our bad habits and even sinful behaviors. Do we want to change at all?
7. Life is good! We are in our own little comfort zone. I am “living the dream”. Why would I need Jesus in my life?
8. Our spouses are not believers, so we’ll just follow along so as not to create any conflicts at home?
9. Jesus will send me to Africa, and I do not want to go!
Questions to Ponder:
Who is Jesus to me? Who do I say he is? Could I surrender more of “who I am” to Jesus? What changes do I need to make?
Assuming Jesus IS our Lord, we next think about MOVE in him. What does “move” mean to us? To me it’s all about our Actions, Words and Behaviors. What are we actually doing for Jesus and others?
To me, the “move” is about Mission—the mission our Lord gave us that only we can accomplish. Yes, he provides each one of us a mission, and provides us everything we need to fulfill it. Do we KNOW what our mission is?
We all have many opportunities for service in our homes, workplaces and in our communities. What will we say yes to? What should we say yes to? Are these part of fulfilling our mission?
A huge part of fulfilling our Mission is understanding our gifts and talents. What are we good at? It’s part of knowing who we are in Him. How do we best apply these gifts to the building of his kingdom?
How do we DISCOVER what our gifts are—to fulfill our mission? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Use a personality instrument like the Enneagram or StrengthsFinder. It’s one of many which can help us to understand who we are.
2. Ask close friends…hey, what am I good at?
3. What do you really like doing?
4. Ask the members of your small group about your gifts.
5. Ask your spouse! He or she will tell you!
6. In your work life, what did you enjoy the most? Where did you shine?
All of these can be good sources of discovery for all of us.
Once we understand more about our mission and Who we are in him, it’s important to NOT over commit ourselves. Too many of us say yes to too many of the opportunities, then become frazzled, burned out, weary or just exhausted. This is not what Jesus wants! He would prefer that we say Yes to a few things which we can do very well. He will always prefer balance and moderation in all we are doing in His Kingdom.
Questions to Ponder:
What is your Mission right now? Is it from God, or your own? What are the specific gifts and talents you can apply to fulfilling your Mission for God and others? What is in the way of you fulfilling your Mission?
Have our being in Jesus? Or, how now shall we live in Him?
To me, having “our being in him” always begins with personal Prayer daily. At CIC & WorkLight, we call this our Appointment with God. If I thought about ONE thing which has helped me in my spiritual journey the most, it has been this commitment to daily time with our Lord. Here are a few benefits:
- Grow in friendship daily with Jesus. We get to adopt his mindset for all we are doing in his kingdom.
2. Learn his ways through conversations and the Scriptures.
3. To know that Jesus has our backs— no matter what! We can trust our Lord for his help in whatever calamity or trouble we encounter.
4. We get set free from the ravages of Sin by confessing our wrongdoing and being forgiven— even daily! He is our Redeemer!
5. We are provided his marching orders — his special insights, guidance and directions on what we are to do in every situation in which we ask.
6. He reveals our specific mission to us through our prayers, and how to live it out.
7. We get to praise his holy name daily — to Express our gratitude and thankfulness to be living and serving him here and now.
8. We are EMPOWERED to be doing his works through his Holy Spirit. We need his courage, energy, zeal and drive to get the work done. We cannot do this on our own. We just burn out!
What an honor and privilege it is to be under the lordship of Jesus in our lives! We come to trust in his ways, which are far better than our own. We are becoming his hands and feet in a world gone astray. We are his light in the darkness of this world.
We are to invite others who so desperately need Jesus in their lives. We get to invite others to this life in Christ (Banquet) that we enjoy ourselves. And we know that we too will be with Jesus in eternity. What grace our Lord Jesus has poured out on us!
Questions to Ponder:
How is your prayer life these days? Do you feel his Being in your life? If not, why not? Do you feel that you are getting to know Jesus better and better all the time?
This is reflection is part of “Forgiveness Forum” reflections by Greg Aitkens. To be added to his email list click here and request via email.