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The Strength of the Christian (4)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power by his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…
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If we had to boil it down to one crisp summary of the strength God commands His people to seek, it would be the strength to be like Jesus. With Christ dwelling ever more fully and richly in our hearts, enabling us to know His love more comprehensively and to desire that love more consistently, we will show in all our words and deeds the new life with which He clothes us, a new life of speaking the truth in love and doing good to all people, beginning with the members of the household of faith (Eph. 4:15; Gal. 10). We are to be transformed from encountering God’s glory to living for His glory, increasingly, into the very image of Jesus Christ Himself.
Thus, like John the Baptist, the overarching hope and vision for our lives in this world is that Jesus Christ might increase in us and we, in all our fallenness and folly, might become less and less visible to the people around us (Jn. 3:30).
For acquiring the strength God commands of us there is no substitute for contemplating Jesus. Like those ancient Greeks, the goal of our lives must be to “see Jesus” ever more clearly and to have Jesus thus be ever more at home in our hearts. The gospels are the place to begin. Here a four-faceted portrait of Jesus is presented that gives a clear and compelling overview of the character, works, and teachings of our Lord. Daily meditation in some section of the gospels will give us a good grounding to go looking for Jesus in other places in God’s Word. Remember, Jesus said that the entire Bible is about Him (Jn. 5:39). Therefore we should expect our meditations on other portions of the Scripture to yield profitable insights into the character and work of Christ.
There is something to be learned about Jesus in all the great saints of Scripture – from Abraham to Paul, Moses to Peter, Joshua and David to Timothy and James. Moreover, the types, prophecies, and foreshadowings of Christ in the Old Testament, together with the clear expositions of Luke, Paul, John, Peter, and the other apostles will round out our picture of Jesus and help us to strain toward the mark of the upward calling of God in Him (Phil. 3:14).
Set as your goal to become strong in Jesus – in His character, works, and words – and then seek Him daily in every sector and quarter of His Word; He will make Himself known to you, and will make His dwelling in your soul. My favorite hymn is “More About Jesus” – “…more of His saving fullness see, more of His love Who died for me.” It is a prayer we can take up each day with profit, as we grow in the strength God commands for us.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.