Some days we feel as if God is far away and that He has forgotten us. We struggle in our marriage, wishing God would step in and intervene. We pray for God to transform hearts while we feel powerless to change our situation. Like the psalmist, we cry out looking for God. Where is God when our home-life feels like it is unraveling?
God made everything and is everywhere, which includes being with us at all times. Actually, it is even better than that! He promises that when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, Jesus actually takes up residence within us. In baptism we die with Christ and are resurrected with Him (Romans 6:4-6). That can only happen if He is one with us, in us. Miracle of miracles! Then we are told that we are seated with Him in heavenly places, which means we are with Him where He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:19-20, 2:6-7). Scripture teaches God is near, yet some days it doesn't feel that way.
I have known all the scriptures about unity with Christ for a long time, but I recently heard an example that moved the knowledge from my head to my heart and produced a major paradigm shift in me. Suppose you have a glass of water. It is just water. Then suppose you put several tea bags into the water and let it sit for a while. We all know that the water will become saturated, united with the tea, and it would be very difficult to separate the tea from the water. As well, the tea bags will become saturated with the water. I am no longer water, but Christ-infused tea, so to speak. We would be hard pressed to remove the tea from the water. Romans 8:35-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Further, assuming that the glass is clear and clean, the tea would be quite visible to others. However, if the glass was dirty or cloudy on the outside, the tea would be hidden. I am changed by Christ, and have to let it show.
This example isn’t perfect, but God supernaturally used it to change me. The next morning, as I was walking, I remembered how many times I’ve heard people talk about “when Jesus walked the earth.” Suddenly, I realized that he walks the earth now--in me!
The next day I heard the song, “Just Give Me Jesus,” and I thought, “I HAVE Jesus!” I don’t need more of Jesus. That might be like saying, “I am slightly pregnant!” What I need is to be fully convinced of his presence in me and to allow him to carry out His will for my life. Christ has infused be with his love, and I need to be a “clean glass,” so that the light and love of Christ can shine through me. I need to be aware that his life vibrates in every cell of my body, giving it His divine life and power – the same power that raised him from death (Romans 8:11). I need him to work within me to get ME out of his way, so he can flow, even erupt, from within me for his Kingdom purposes. God has power to use my life and my situation for his purposes.
In addition to knowing that Jesus lives within us, it is vitally important to know that we are seated with him in heavenly places. This is a sign and a wonder in itself! Where is Jesus seated? Ephesians 1:20 tells us that he is seated at the right hand of the Father. This suggests to me that, as we are seated next to Christ, we have the perspective of the Father and the Son. In every situation we can have their perspective, which is one of perfect wisdom and VICTORY! They see the big picture and know what to do in every circumstance. They have the power to carry out their wisdom, so theirs is a perspective of complete victory. Having that perspective changes how we look at everything and how we respond to life’s blessings and challenges. It also changes the way we see and treat other people. It should bring the grace of God into my everyday interactions within my household.
Being convinced that the living Christ has inserted Himself within us as well as experiencing our presence with Him at the right hand of the Father affects the way we think, our identity, the way we pray (from a position of victory, not begging), the way we act in our sphere of influence, and our entire mindset. It empowers us to love an unfaithful spouse with the compassion of Jesus. It guides us to rebuild again on a foundation of forgiveness and grace. An awareness of God's presence within us guides us to see one another through his eyes and operate from a position of compassion.
When we encounter life from this perspective, we no longer need to be a victim of our circumstances, our feelings, or others’ opinions of us. We are united with Christ; and we know who and Whose we are, we know where we are going, and we know that Jesus leads and empowers us from within.
Dr. Robert Ritzema
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra