I recently heard David Platt share a quote that requires a lot of contemplation. He asked the question, “Is Jesus living in me or through me?” The difference between the two is huge. We live in a culture of casual Christianity, led to believe all we have to do is say a magical prayer and Jesus will come to live within us.
Even if such teaching were true (and I believe there are compelling arguments to be made it is not), inviting Jesus into your heart is not the point. Unless and until we allow Jesus to live through us, we will be missing out on all the power and peace He intends for us.
If Jesus only lives in us, we can easily be lulled into a life of comfortable mediocrity. Having gotten the Heaven and Hell thing taken care of, there is little to push us deeper in our relationship with Christ. We can go to church to keep up appearances and get our weekly refreshing of the Spirit, but chances are our life will look much like everyone else’s.
When we allow Jesus to live through us, we can impact the world. I would go so far as to say we have the responsibility to change the world. When we let Jesus live through us our lives will change. No longer are we who we were except for a little Jesus inside; we are now the image of God. We are who we were created to be.
In the beginning, we were created in the image of God. We were made to live in close relationship with our Creator. In His love, He gifted us with the freedom to choose to accept who we were created to be or to go our own way. In the ultimate tragedy of history, we – the ones created in God’s own image – decided we could do better. We went off on our own and refashioned God into our image. The created usurped the throne from the Creator.
In theory, when we ask Jesus into our lives, we are helping right this injustice. We are restoring Him to the rightful throne of our hearts. And so, we check that off our list. We’re good. We’re done. He lives in us. What more could we ask? So we go about our lives as we always have, seeking comfort, security, status, and entertainment. In no time, we forget Jesus is in us at all.
In contrast, when we make the decision to have Jesus live through us, we cannot help but do the things He did. We cannot help to act like, think like, speak like, and live like Jesus. When He is living through us, He permeates every area of our life. He is in every thought, every conversation, and every plan. If Jesus is merely in our lives, we will not be living on mission. We will not be taking His gospel to those who need to hear. We won’t be discipling new believers. In short, we’ll be ignoring the great commission He gave to us before returning to the Father (Matthew 28:16-20).
When Jesus lives through us, we will be who He created us to be. Our relationship will be as He originally intended. If we let Jesus live through us, everyone we encounter will leave with a little bit of Jesus on them. It can’t be helped. How would you describe your relationship with Christ? Is He living in you, or through you? You know the answer before you even ask. Now, what are you going to do about it?