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Imagine you keep meeting your loved ones not only today but also… yesterday… and tomorrow. This is both grammatically wrong and seems to be a ridiculous statement, right? Yet how often our thoughts keep strolling about situations that happened in the past (and cannot be repeated!) and about what might take place in the days ahead (although solely God knows the future). Of course, we know that we should live in the moment right now, but can we? If you ever tried earnestly, you know that it is hard work to simply experience a few seconds without your mind trying to run away through space and time, so to say. The apostle Paul said, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (cf. Gal 2:20 ESV) What does that mean?

Our old self is not able to really live in the moment. Therefore, we need to have experienced our carnal nature as ‘dead’ in ourselves (although it is still there) and to have seen, felt, and wondered that Christ acted in and through us without our old natural, soulish habits interfering. In fact, it is a miracle that happens here! This is what I meant by ‘Self under Arrest’. Our crucified (!) self is silent and watches Him do as He wishes, with joy and without any own effort. I believe this is Jesus’ easy yoke, the fulfilling of God’s commandments that are not burdensome as the apostle John said (1 Jn 5:3). It is always God alone with whom everything is possible, God who does the impossible in us (see Mt 19:26). As much as esoteric and other seemingly spiritual movements try to get hold of IT in order to possess IT with their old nature, it is Christ alone who can give real, spiritual LIFE to a newly born creature: LIFE eternal… in the here now… and forever… LIFE outside of regular time and man-made schedules. Actually, NOW is the time that is eternal! The author who wrote the letter to the Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13:8 ESV) Aha! Not “Jesus Christ WAS the same yesterday, He IS the same today and WILL BE the same forever.” No. Is it because I am not a native English speaker that I saw this, did this happen due to a bad translation, or is there a deeper meaning to be found here?  🙄

As John, chapter 17, verse three confirms, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (ESV) We can know Him in our heart, in our own spirit that has been enlivened and brought to real inward life by our Lord. We are even called to have a life more abundantly over time (cf. John 10:10). Briefly, we need to learn by faith to let God do the work, even the smallest things in life should be surrendered under His authority more and more. If you are like me, I don’t like this. My old nature does not want to surrender. I always only give up if I must. And God knows which kind of situations are necessary to let Susanne finally cry out, “Lord, please, take over!”  🙂

T. Austin Sparks describes some of our struggles to let go to God and thus to hinder Christ from being formed in us in the following excerpt of an article about “The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Why are so many of the Lord’s people just beaten and harassed and tormented by the Accuser causing them always to have their eyes turned inward in self-analysis, self-conscious introspection, occupied with themselves all the time; so tied up with themselves that they are useless to God and to other people? Why? Because they have not clearly recognized the implications of Christ; that Christ has answered to God on their behalf in all that God ever requires of them; they have not grasped that by faith. That is the way of deliverance from ourselves. That is deliverance from self into Christ. But still they are in an ill-defined way trying to provide God with satisfaction, and it is an awful struggle. They have not seen the clear features of Christ. Christ is not formed in them. He is (if you will suffer it) an unformed, ill-defined indweller. It is rather a difficult thing to explain, but probably you see what I mean. Immediately we grasp the clear implications of Christ dwelling in the heart, we have come to a settled place, we have come to a strong place, we have come to the place where no legalisers can come along and sweep us off our feet. It is what John meant when writing about the anti-christs, and about the Lord’s people saying: “I wonder if this is right, if this is true? It looks very much like it.” “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you.” Inwardly you know by the anointing whether the thing is right or wrong. You are not able to put it into words, not always able to analyse the thing and say, this or that about it is wrong; you are not able to put it all straight; but in your heart you have a witness that there is something about it of which you have to be careful. There is all the difference between our suspicions and our prejudices and the witness within. Do not try and project your mind into anything; don’t think you have to take up a suspicious attitude and question everything to keep yourself safe; don’t think you must be prejudiced for safety’s sake. If you are walking in the Spirit you can have your countenance open, your mind open; you can be without fear, the anointing in you will teach you, you will know every time. You may not be able to define it, but you will say: “There is an intangible something in my heart; I know.” That word was spoken in regard to antichrists, about which the Lord’s people were not sure – “the anointing teacheth you.” That is Christ formed within. You come to a clear, defined place. The features of Christ have been defined, delineated; senses have been exercised; Christly faculties have been developed. It is not an unformed thing but something clear; the formed Christ within. Paul says: “I am in anguish, I am in travail over you my brethren, your state of things puts me into a travail that you may come to a place where Christ is defined in your hearts; where He takes form, and is not a formless Christ.” That is the meaning of Galatians 4:19.

https://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/000730.htmlAll images © 2019 Susanne and Sarah Schuberth