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The Hope Within

Stop looking outside of yourself for the strength to carry on. Turn to the indwelling presence of Christ.

By Charles F. Stanley

 

For many years, my Christian life resembled a roller coaster—up one minute and down the next. Instead of making progress, I went through life experiencing more failure than success. I was locked into a relationship with Christ that I didn’t even enjoy. Each struggle to follow Him made me feel as if I never quite measured up to His expectations. But all that changed when I began to comprehend one simple truth: Christ lives in me.

Many believers think the Christian life is something they merely do—like going to church, reading the Bible, praying, and serving. They picture God far away in heaven, hearing their prayers and sending down the strength they need in times of trouble. This may sound good, but it’s not what the Bible teaches. The power we need to live the Christian life isn’t dispensed from “above”—but is released from within the life of every believer through Christ’s indwelling presence.

Just before He was crucified, Jesus Christ gave His disciples an illustration of their relationship with Him. He described Himself as the vine and His followers as the branches who abide in Him (John 15:4). According to the metaphor, they would bear fruit as a result of the Lord’s life flowing in and through them, not by means of human effort. You’ll never see a branch on a grape vine sweating and grunting as it pumps out the fruit. It simply lets the sap flow through it and displays the grapes that the vine produces. And so it is with those who follow Jesus: He is the source of our nourishment and growth. This amazing experience begins at the moment we accept the Lord’s offer of a saving relationship with Him.

Is it really possible?

Perhaps you’re wondering how Jesus can be inside you and in heaven at the same time. The explanation is found in John 14:16-20—before returning to His Father, Jesus explained to His disciples that He was leaving them but would send the Holy Spirit as a Helper who would abide in them forever. Now, we need to be aware that there’s a great mystery in this and our ability to understand as human beings is limited. Yet Scripture is clear that, while Jesus is presently seated at the Father’s right hand, He also dwells within us through the Holy Spirit.

In a way we cannot comprehend, the persons of the Trinity are distinct from one another. But we need to remember that they’re also perfectly one God. This communion shared by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can’t be broken, and if one Person of the Godhead lives within us, we have fellowship with all three. So when the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, Christ also enters in.

The Lord knows that our human frailties and limited strength make us inadequate to live the Christian life. His purpose is to accomplish through us what He knows we cannot do with self-effort or natural abilities. Although Jesus’ disciples walked with Him for three years, they needed more than a side-by-side relationship in order to carry out His will—and so do we. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live Christ’s life as we die to ourselves and learn to truly live.

Jesus lives in us for another purpose as well: to glorify Himself and carry out His kingdom work. Since He is no longer here in physical form, His indwelling presence enables and empowers us to do what He once did on earth—proclaim the gospel, make disciples, teach His Word, and care for people. You may not feel qualified for the job, but that should never be the deciding factor. The Lord promises to make you adequate for whatever He’s called you to do (1 Thess. 5:24). Our union with Him goes both ways. We abide in Christ, and He abides in us. This relationship is His way to qualify you for life in heaven and also His means of preparing you to live a fruitful and obedient life on earth.

How does Jesus’ indwelling presence affect us?

Christ’s union with us is one of the Bible’s most profound truths—that the sovereign, transcendent Creator, who spoke the universe into existence, would condescend to live within the spirit of mortal humans. It’s beyond our comprehension, and the implications are far-reaching.

Transformation: Jesus’ indwelling presence enables each believer to become the person that God intends for him or her to be. Even though you may feel as if you’re far from this goal, as long as you keep learning and applying the truths of Scripture, you will increasingly become more like Jesus. Spiritual transformation and growth are achieved not by trying harder but by submitting to Christ and allowing Him to express Himself through you.

Christ in you is your hope of glory (Col. 1:27). Although we receive glimpses in Scripture of what awaits us in heaven, we’ll be amazed when we step across the threshold and see our Savior face to face. As children of God, we are fellow heirs with Him (Rom. 8:16-17) and will enjoy the honor and rewards He will give us for obedience and faithful service.

Sufficiency: Because Jesus lives in us, we also have the assurance that He will make us sufficient in every circumstance. His riches are available for all areas of our lives, regardless of the need. If you require understanding and guidance, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Col. 2:3). If you’re struggling financially, all the wealth of the world is His (Ps. 24:1). When a task is beyond your ability or a trial seems unbearable, He is your strength (2 Cor. 12:9-10). The Lord knows exactly what you should do and is willing to guide you in every situation.

Intimacy: Perhaps the greatest benefit of our union with Christ is the privilege of living moment by moment in an intimate relationship with Him. Anytime day or night we can enter into a private conversation with Him. Jesus is an ever-present friend who knows us more intimately than any human being ever could. Nothing can separate us from Him, because He has taken up permanent residence within us.

A “Christ in you” lifestyle

It’s not enough just to acknowledge that Jesus is in us. This glorious truth is not meant to be an academic concept. It’s intended to transform the way we live. Instead of trying so hard to improve ourselves and act like Jesus, we simply need to let Him flow through us like a stream. We can never pump out godliness, because nothing good dwells in us apart from Him. Only as we yield our lives to the One who resides within will we experience the fullness of His life in us.

A commitment is required if we want to turn this truth into a lifestyle. We must acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our life and then act upon this confession. We can’t keep it as simply a doctrinal truth; we need to experience it daily. Begin each morning by reminding yourself that Christ is your life. Then throughout the day, whenever you encounter temptation or a difficult situation, reaffirm it: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20, emphasis added).

The reason so many believers feel weak and inadequate in their walk with Christ is because they rely on their feelings instead of the truth of God’s Word. Feelings fluctuate, but faith anchors our soul and reminds us that Christ is our life no matter what challenge we’re facing or how we have failed. The key to fruitful Christianity is living out what you believe. Then Christ’s character and power will surface and become a part of your life.

If you are caught on a roller coaster of self-effort, it’s time to get off and start enjoying your relationship with Christ. You don’t have to try to live up to His expectations; you just have to believe He is your life, submit to His leadership, rely on His strength, and watch His life flow through you.

 

 Do You Know God?

If you have never experienced Christ's indwelling presence, learn how to receive this priceless gift of love here.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


44 comments
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  • February 08, 2014 07:31 PM

    by

    Thank you. A wonderful message!!
  • April 17, 2013 06:58 AM

    by

    Thank you so much for this message. For reminding me that Christ lives in me, he is my source, my hope, my joy, peace, strength, and my shepherd. May God continue to bless you always.
  • April 14, 2013 08:22 AM

    by

    Thank you Dr. Stanley . This message was very impressive and helpful . I learnt to trust God and to have a closer walk with Him as well trust Him and to have an intimate relationship with Him and walk by faith , no matter what comes on our way. ( may be trials and hardships)
    TRUST AND OBEY AND THERE IS NO OTHER WAY ,TO BE IN JESUS TRUST AND OBEY.
  • March 29, 2013 11:47 AM

    by

    Thanks for the message, it made my day.
  • March 27, 2013 03:39 PM

    by

    Thank you for keeping it real... when people like myself are in pain almost beyond words we need a word in due season. Keep allowing our father to use you in a power way. joy will come in the morning!!
  • March 26, 2013 01:37 PM

    by

    My family has been going thru a difficult time. Son 25 wants foot amputated. Daughter in full care facility with mental disorder. My shield is up! Bible in hand. I will fight the good fight cause Jesus has already won!
  • March 26, 2013 07:37 AM

    by

    The other night as i was getting ready for bed i realised i was thirsty so i walked into the living room where i had left a glass of water earlier,the lights were out but i remembered where i had left the glass so i reached out and picked it up even though i could not see it in the darkness.Then the thought came to me that even though i am sometimes in the darkness i can reach out in my hand and take the hand of JESUS because i know HE is there even though i cannot see HIM,HE is always there and will never leave nor forsake me. Sometimes i get sidetracked and go down the wrong road and get lost but the moment i realise what i have done i stop and turn to my LORD and HE allways leads me in the right direction . I now say this prayer so that i can stay on the right track( LORD I pray this day to live in the WONDERFUL FREEDOM of obediance to YOUR HOLY WORD).JESUS is perfect , i am not ,thank GOD for HIS wonderful and merciful GRACE,your brother in JESUS, victor. GOD bless and keep up the good work for our LORD and SAVIOR.
  • March 25, 2013 03:46 PM

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    I really appreciate how the Lord uses you to strengthen the brethren. May God continue to bless you.
  • March 25, 2013 02:02 PM

    by

    I thank God for a man of God as Dr. Stantly. Truely God has used you to help me through life trials. It seem that whatever I go through from day to day, when I pick up the daily devotional and begain to read it, It is what Im going through that day. God is so good and I thank you Dr. Stantly for your teaching. GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS...
  • March 24, 2013 08:31 PM

    by

    I feel encouraged. Thank you!
  • March 24, 2013 08:13 PM

    by

    Sharing the Word of God is always inspiring...so refreshing n nutritional to the soul...Thank you Dr Charles.
  • March 24, 2013 02:22 PM

    by

    i like that
  • March 22, 2013 08:01 AM

    by

    I so appreciate the powerful and essential truth this article reminds us of when it comes to our daily walk. It is too easy to loose sight of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, as well as our entire purpose for being here. We are simply vessels through which He flows so it only stands to reason that any good to come from us would truly come from Him. On our own, we have no good thing to offer; through Him, we can give endless goodness. Amen.
  • March 21, 2013 10:37 AM

    by

    I read and I try to mediate. I believe and
    trust GOD, yet , my life is filled with
    Uncertainty, and a profound sense of
    Failure. Somehow, I firmly believe that
    GOD is with me.....but I am unable to
    Find a spiritual peace.
  • March 16, 2013 12:13 AM

    by

    Sometimes being christian we sometimes need words of encouragement and this article is one dose of encouragement. Truly grateful to you Dr Stanley and God Bless you and this ministry!!!!
  • March 15, 2013 07:40 AM

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    I love your teachings, It helps me to grow spiritually. Since I listen to your teaching i want to have an intermeate relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ. Please pray for me to grow day by day. Adelaide Radipabe, from Lephalale in South Africa
  • March 13, 2013 09:49 AM

    by

    "The Lord is my Shepard. I shall not want." By focusing on those words, we
    can have peace no matter what circumstances we face. As Dr. Stanley points out, we have been reborn with Christ guiding us, not ourselves. I must remember that each day as I go through the challenges I currently face but being at peace knowing that Christ knows our needs and desires and will bless us when he's readhy.
  • March 13, 2013 08:09 AM

    by

    Thank you Lord as you care for your own.
  • March 13, 2013 02:17 AM

    by

    Thank you dr Stanley for your teachings I was listening to your message on the radio today wanted to listen to it again and found this artilcle on the web anything I read or listen to speaks to me thank you.I have a picture for you it is taken up here in Canada and reads Stanley DR I just had to stop and take this picture TY
  • March 12, 2013 06:31 PM

    by

    Dr. Stanley, after reading "Is it really possible", in your article, it was an answer to my prayer. What a wonderful explanation about the Trinity being within us! I thank God for you and In Touch ministries and pray God's message will be heard all over the world, people will know the truth and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Thank You again.
  • March 12, 2013 01:51 AM

    by

    thank God he is not demanding us to be good nor live a perfect life but just flow with his spirit and allow God to be part of our day. thank you for sharing. God bless you.
  • March 10, 2013 05:01 PM

    by

    Thank you Dr Charles Stanley for sharing the "not so perfect" moments of your life. Because of your honesty, it has helped me see that I don't have to make myself good enough for God to love, lead/guide or help me; that He is just a prayer away. May God bless you to continue to teach/preach the gospel in its purest form
  • March 09, 2013 08:48 PM

    by

    Dr. Stanley Is the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • March 09, 2013 12:19 PM

    by

    Thank you Dr. Charles I woke up this morning praying to everything you just presented in this article. When I read this article I was so blown away by what I read because it was exactly what GOD had put in my heart to pray for. It was a confirmation from GOD. I know that Christ lives in me but when I really started to dwell on the impact of that it changed everything,from how I pray and communicate with my creator. Because He lives in me we have everything we can ever imagine though we don't see it in physical form by obedience GOD will honor His promises if we are obedient to Him. Love you Dr. Charles thank you for your ministry and for speaking GOD's truth into my life.
  • March 07, 2013 06:06 AM

    by

    I've been watching you off and on since the day I discovered In Touch Ministries. You are a man of God and your messages are truly inspiring and uplifting and you make me want to become a true believer and follower of Christ. Thank you, Dr. Stanley! I am so happy to have found you again.

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