Monday, August 15, 2011

Christ formed in us

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Galatians 4:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you." Galatians 4:19

We can learn a lot about intimacy with Jesus from today's reading. Early in the chapter Paul talks about how God redeemed the Galatians (and all of us who trust Jesus) from slavery (to sin) and adopted us. As His sons and daughters we can call Him "Abba Father" or Daddy.

In our focus verse Paul expresses his desire for them to achieve even greater intimacy as Christ is "formed" in them. An article in my Bible explains "formed":

["Formed, morphoo: To form. Schema and morphoo are in bold contradistinction. Schema (English "scheme") signifies external form or outer appearance. Morphoo and morphe, its related noun, refer to internal reality. Galatians 4:19 speaks of a change in character, becoming conformed to the character of Christ in actuality, not merely in semblance" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1636.]

A brief meander through the New Testament sheds light on how Christ is formed in us:
  • This formation is connected to the Holy Spirit coming into our lives - John 14:16-20.
  • It demonstrates to the world that Christ's coming to earth was real and effective - John 17:23.
  • It is worked out in real time as we crucify (kill, ignore) the desires of our fleshly selves and use our bodies to further God's purposes - Galatians 2:20.
  • It is achieved by faith - Ephesians 3:17-19.
  • It is a mystery - Colossians 1:27.
  • It is tied to obedience - 1 John 3:24.
  • It is available to everyone - Revelation 3:20.

I ask, is Christ being formed in me today? In you?

PRAYER: Dear Daddy God, I welcome the formation of Jesus in me today through the Holy Spirit. Please bring these aspects of formation to mind as I go through my day. Amen.

MORE: Resistance to Christ being formed in us
"I think the basic reason why Christian faith meets with opposition in the world and even finds resistance in our own hearts is that true saving faith always brings with it the reshaping of our heart and mind so that it is no longer we who live but Christ in us.
There is in every human heart an intense and powerful love for the praise of men. Just as naturally as apples fall downward, human beings gravitate toward ideas and actions which make them look great, and resist ideas and actions which make them look small.
Therefore, apart from the powerful grace of God overcoming our natural disposition to pride, we would always resist the coming of faith into our lives, because by faith Christ takes such dominant control of our lives and reshapes us so much into his image that we can no longer boast in anything good that we do. It does not appeal to the natural mind to be so transformed by Christ that we must give him credit for all the good we do."
- By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org, from "O, That Christ Would be Formed In You." (Paragraphing added to make it easier to read online).


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