All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. Eph 1:3-14
Our pastor (John Swope) asked us yesterday, “What is your “position” in Christ?”
Some folks have no position in Christ simply because they do not know him, they’ve never heard of him, and no one’s bothered to tell them about him. Others are on the fringe—they’ve heard about Jesus but don’t really know him. Both of these positions encourage me to live out my faith so others might come to know him and find themselves in him.
For those who do know Jesus, some see themselves walking beside Jesus—he is a friend and companion on the journey. Others see Jesus in front of them, leading them in life. Many folks see Christ above them, as Lord, Savior and King—they bow low before him. All these ways of viewing our position with Christ are valid, true and real, but what if we see Jesus within us, as our center? Living a Christ-centered life.
Take a moment to look at all the things that Ephesians 1 says
are true about you when you are in Christ:
showered with kindness, wisdom and understanding
identified and purchased as His own
united with Christ
All these things are true about you when you place your life, your faith, in Jesus Christ, when he is your center, when you find him in the core of your being.
Scripture promises us that the Holy Spirit lives within us, but how often do we go through life without a thought about this reality? Take a moment to consider Jesus Christ within you—right now, in this very moment—Christ in you, living within you, setting up a dwelling place within the tabernacle of your body. Take a deep breath, breathe him in and exhale your self, recognizing that even as you “breathe him in” that indeed he has been there all along, just waiting for you to recognize his abiding presence within.
During Lent, we often give up something or fast as a way to empty ourselves of worldly desires. Just as Christ gave up his life for us, we give up something that might stand in the way or distract us from focusing on Jesus. If you’ve given up something for Lent, I invite you to focus on Christ within whenever you struggle with cravings for the thing(s) you gave up, remembering his sacrifice on your behalf. If you’ve not given up something, perhaps God is calling you to now? It’s not too late. It doesn’t have to be something drastic; simply something that will call you to remembrance of Him.
I invite you to spend some time in an embodied prayer exercise today I call Returning to Center, using scripture and directional position to focus your prayer to your One True Center, Jesus Christ. Normally this prayer is done with a group of people in a circle and you turn towards the center of the circle. Today, instead of turning towards an imaginary center of a circle, turn inward, to the Christ within you. You can follow that prayer with this song:
May you find Christ at the very core of your being this week as you live a Christ-centered life. And may you be blessed.
Creative blessings, Jody