For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory.
Colossians 1:27b (NLT)

25I have become [the church’s] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To [the saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:25-227 (NIV)

Over the past two months there has been a constant theme in my spirit. I’ve tried to write about it again and again, but have yet been unsuccessful. Perhaps today will be different, and if it is, perhaps it is a message that needed to be put off until closer to Christmas.

The message, friends, is this: If you know Christ, “Christ lives in you” and that inner life, that life within, is your “hope of glory.” He who lives in you is with you all the time. Let me reiterate that. He who lives in you is with you ALL the time.

The implications of that statement are stretching me. Christ is in me and because of that, He goes with me…to every meeting, every event, every gathering. At this time of year, that means (dare I say it)…He is there when I attend those family events that sometimes bring out the worst in me. I mean absolutely no disrespect to my family. My family is a blessing to me. They are the people God has put in my life to love me and encourage me and…help me conform to the image of Christ.

At Christmas (and Thanksgiving and Easter and birthdays and other family-centered events), it’s very easy to fall into family roles. Those family roles do not always bring out the best in us. Well, in me anyway. I’m guessing I’m not unique in that. But God….But God…(I love the buts of God)But God can make me different. In fact, He has made me different. In Christ, I am different from that child and young adult that I am so tempted to revert to at family gatherings. I have become a new creation and that creation carries the living God and the hope of eternity with her everywhere she goes.

The message, friends, is this: If you know Christ, “Christ lives in you” and that inner life, that life within, is your “hope of glory”…for you and those around you. Because when you attend those family gatherings (and gatherings of old friends as well), He goes with you. Christ is in the house because you have attended the gathering. He wants to impact each person in the building. And he probably wants to use you to do it!

How? Here are some ideas that challenge me.

  • By reflecting Him in you instead of reverting back to that child and/or young adult.
  • By showing unexpected kindness.
  • By holding your tongue when you want to argue the same old arguments.
  • By speaking gently instead of criticizing or speaking harshly.
  • By remembering the good things instead of bringing up old hurts and disappointments.
  • By embracing instead of walking away.
  • By smiling instead of scowling.
  • By taking an interest in the lives of others instead of remaining separate.
  • By living as the new creation you have become instead of being fearful of what they will think of you.
  • By loving.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (NIV)

Friends, Christ lives in you and He wants to impact those around you. Let His love shine through at your family gatherings this month.

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