The idea that the creator of the universe is for you is pretty amazing. If he never did another thing he would’ve already done enough for you in the cross. Yet this all-powerful, immortal and immutable God continues to be in your corner providing everything you need for this life and the next. Additionally God is constantly with you, never forsaking or abandoning you, rather he is drawing closer to you showing that he is not only powerful but he is personal. That’s pretty special. Consider even further that the promise of the gospel is not only that God is for you and that he is with you but that HE IS IN YOU!!! Try and comprehend that thought? The God who spoke the world into existence and holds the expanse of the universe in his hands promised that he would reside in you.
Jesus said in John 14:16-17,
‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.’
And Paul called this a glorious mystery in Colossians 1:27,
’27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’
What do we learn through this great mystery?
WHILE CHRIST LEAVES HE ALSO STAYS.
It’s impossible for a Christian to be alone. Impossible. The Christian has the gospel promise that God is always with them through the indwelling of the Spirit. Be encouraged that no matter where you are or what you face, God is right there with you and in you. This is remarkable. Throughout the Old Testament God’s presence was manifest in various ways including in the temple or in the pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:21-22; Num. 14:14). It was restricted in the sense that only those in that location could see and experience God’s presence. Even further when Jesus, God in flesh, was present on the earth his presence was restricted to that physical body and therefore was only present in one place at one time. To be with Jesus you needed to be physically present where Jesus was physically present. The promise of the gospel is that you have something greater. God’s presence is with you always because he’s not somewhere out there, he’s right there in you.
WHILE GOD IS BIG HE ALSO CARES ABOUT THE SMALL
We live in an insecure culture that aspires towards exaltation. Power, position, possessions and popularity are all sought for self-gratification and adoration. We want to have more, do more and be more. Unfortunately the church is not immune to the influence of culture. Consequently the church and Christians are intent of feeling bigger and better about themselves. Don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing wrong with liking yourself. I’m not a hate yourself, brow-beater type of guy. I’m not at all fond with negativity and negative people in general. However insecurity often leads to denial of the truth and overcompensation in an effort to prove that denial to be true.
As humans we long for greatness; strive for significance and seek meaning in life. None of which are bad by the way. Jesus didn’t rebuke the disciples for seeking greatness; he just redefined what greatness looked like (Mk. 9:33-37). Antithetical to culture which evaluates greatness by the 4 P’s of ‘Power; Position; Possessions & Popularity’, Jesus taught that greatness in God’s kingdom is not found in propping yourself up, but in bringing yourself low. Jesus modelled this by laying down his life to serve us (Mk. 10:45).
Why is this important?
Because we often believe the lie that God is more impressed with the so-called successful Christian doing so-called extraordinary things for God. We are left feeling ‘less than’ because we’re not doing ‘more than’ so and so. But in Jesus we see that God loves the small, loves the ordinary and his promise of his Spirit is to all and any who receive it by faith. It’s for the missionary family living in the Papua New Guinea Jungle reaching the headhunters. It’s for the young aspiring entrepreneur running multiple start-ups. It’s for the stay at home mum, the factory worker, the barista, the teacher. It’s for the pregnant teenager, the addict, the paraplegic and yes it’s even for the local pastor that occasionally writes an average blog. It’s for all. Our big God is not impressed with our attempt of bigness. In fact we lose something in God’s greatness when we try and make ourselves big. We also lose out because God’s greatness is one of our greatest assets.
WHILE GOD IS EXALTED HE ALSO CONDESCENDED
The eternal holy God, maker of all things, constructs his home inside little you, broken you, imperfect you. Remarkable. Christ who is exalted above all the earth condescends to make his home in his people by his Spirit. When you are weak, that’s ok. You don’t have to try and muster up strength because the all-powerful God is in you. Paul understood this and was able to write to the Corinthians, ‘
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:9-10
Paul boasted in his weakness because by it he was strong as he rested in the promise of God’s strength made available to him in Christ. Christ is what we need and Christ is what we have.
When you face temptation – the one who is able to withstand all temptation at all times is in you. When you face uncertainty – the all-knowing God is in you. When you face overwhelming obstacles – the all-sovereign God who is in control of all things is in you. When you face discouragement – the one who lived a perfect life on your behalf is in you. When you face fatigue – the same power that was with Jesus in his earthly life is in you. When you face great suffering – the one who suffered infinitely and on your behalf is likewise your great comforter who sympathises with you. When you face loneliness – the one who coexisted with the Father and Spirit for all eternity makes his home in you so that you will never walk alone again.
As Paul said,
27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Col 1:27-29