As we abide in him and he abides in us, we are receiving his life rather than creating our own independent life.
This statement, paraphrased from the Gospel of John captures the tension, both figurative and literal, of a Christian’s life.
This tension is expressed in two concerns. What is our identity as Christians? What is God’s plan to meet our needs?
Our identity as Christians is summarized in the following principles of action:
- Replacing our life with Christ’s
- Recognizing Christ’s crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension as an ongoing activity in our life
- Replacing a works-based relationship with God with a grace-based relationship.
- Faithfully living only in Christ
- Submitting ourselves to the sin-cleansing powers of Christ’s gracious sacrifice.
- Discarding daily our lives for Christ’s; yielding to the activation that can only occur through brokenness
- Yielding to Christ living through us
- Encouraging the Holy Spirit to teach us who we are and who the Father is throughout each day
- Surrendering to Christ’s life in exchange for our own
- Pursuing daily the exchange with Christ.
Our days are the territories God uses to show us his character and demonstrate his traits of love and goodness.
Whatever we choose apart from God compromises the exchange of his life with ours. The less we yield to God the less our lives are filled with his Spirit.
As we daily, willingly, receive all our love and acceptance from Christ’s life we are enmeshed in Christ. The degree to which we choose his love and acceptance above any other is the degree to which we fulfill the spiritual exchange.
A Christian’s life is not that of a conscientious objector; we need to choose sides each and every day. To the extent that we consciously make the choice to follow Christ is the extent of the transformational exchange.
God’s Spirit facilitates the exchange through his fellowship of believers. These local, national, and worldwide communities act as the support system for each believer.
These communities of believers are manifest as spiritual families, spiritual bodies and spiritual temples. As each participate in the will of God, through the direction of his Spirit, each exhibits the character of God and his traits of love and goodness.
Within the family, each member is a crucial actor for the Holy Spirit, providing other family members with particular, unique understandings of who God is and how Christ lives through us.