Believe – God In Us
By Steve Crowley
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:23 (ESV)
“God with us.” What a defining moment in the history of mankind – the birth of Jesus! God sent His one and only Son in the form of a human child, born of a virgin, so we could be reconciled with God and have His indwelling Spirit live inside us!
“In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:20 (ESV)
I will never forget the day I asked Jesus to come into my heart, to be my Lord and Savior. It was a day when I had exhausted every ounce of my personal effort to find fulfillment. The eyes of my heart were opened to the grace of God of His willingness to send His Son, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to pay the price for my sins so I could be freed from the condemnation and penalty of my sin. I spent fifty years pursuing what only Christ could provide – justification before God.
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Stop for a moment and think about the significance of God, the Almighty, the creator of the heavens and the earth. He sent Christ to earth to die upon the cross so we could be justified before God. When God looks at us, He sees His Son, Jesus Christ, because of what Christ did for us, to be reconciled with God.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (ESV)
The day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior was like a thousand pounds being lifted off of me. The guilt, regret and remorse I carried around from all the stupid mistakes I had made, seemed to be lifted off. I felt renewed. At the same time I also felt an incredible thirst and hunger for the Word of God. What had been hidden by my hardened heart, was not alive, the saving grace of God! I wanted to know Him as He had known me.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (EVS)
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:29a (ESV)
God’s will for our lives is to be transformed into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. The process of being transformed is sanctification. STOP! Being transformed sounds a lot like taking something and changing it.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 (NIV)
I do not know about you, but I do not necessarily embrace change. In fact, I sometimes find that I enjoy my little ruts because I know what to expect and it is comfortable. I once heard someone say, “God is not interested in my comfort, He is interested in my character.” To transform us into the likeness of Christ, God allows trails of many kinds into our lives to change our character.
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 (ESV)
Wow, God is at work in our lives to shape us, and to mold us into becoming, “sanctified” like His Son, Jesus Christ. Is this process painless? Not always. When you change anything you have to alter its state of being. But knowing that it is God at work in us, according to God’s good purpose, gives us an eternal hope because God works all things for the good according to His good purpose.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
“Immanuel”, God with us. Not only is God with us, but He dwells in us through His Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God for His saving grace.
“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.” Colossians 1:27 (ESV)
Heavenly Father, creator of the heavens and the earth, Holy is Your name. Father, how gracious You are to love us so much that You would work in our lives to transform us into the likeness of your Son.
Father, we thank You even when we cry to You knowing that You are at work in us to transform us into the person You want us to be. Father, we know that change occurs in the valleys of life. Father, may we find comfort in knowing that You are with us always and You have promised that You will not leave us nor forsake us.
Father, we know that You have a plan for us and to achieve that plan, You sometimes have to knock off a few barnacles so that we may grow into the likeness of Christ.
Father, may we rejoice knowing that You love us and that we will emerge from change as a better person; the person you want us to be. Blessed be Your name.
Father it is in Your loving Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, that we pray.
May God Bless Nigeria, America And Israel And Take Care Of Us; May God Make His Face Shine Upon Us, And Be Gracious To Us; May The Lord Lift Up His Countenance Upon Us, And Give Us Peace, In Jesus Christ Name, We Pray! Amen!
May The Grace The Lord Jesus Christ, And The Love Of God, And The Fellowship Of The Holy Spirit Be With You All. Amen!