Jesus within you

‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.’ 2 Peter 1.3 

Another wonderful truth revealed in this verse that we looked at yesterday, is that all we need has already been given to us. This probably raises two questions for you: what do you need that has already been given, and if you have been given it why don’t you feel you have it?

The answer to both these questions can be found in another phrase from this beautiful verse, which tells us that everything we need has been given ‘through our knowledge of him’.  In other words, as you discover more of the presence of Jesus within you, you will discover that what is in Jesus is also in you. Peace is one example of this.  At any given moment, despite wanting peace desperately you may feel that it is completely lacking.  Telling your troubled soul that it already has peace despite how you are feeling is not very helpful!  The answer is not so much to search for peace within you as to turn your attention to Jesus who lives within you by the presence of his Holy Spirit. If he is within you, then the peace that dwells in Jesus is also within you.

It may seem easier said than done, but to sit quietly for a few minutes, whispering the name of ‘Jesus’, brings a new consciousness of his presence to the forefront of your mind.  As his presence comes – so does his peace, and all the other lovely things that you need to live a godly life.

Called by God

‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.’ 2 Peter 1.3 

The first reassuring point about this verse is that whatever is being promised, it is being promised to those whom God has called – us!  You may think of your own testimony – how you came to find God and the steps you took along the way – and this phrase says that before any of your faltering steps to find God, he called you.  He spoke your name because he wanted a relationship with you, and your steps towards him have been your attempt to come home to the voice that has been calling you.

When you think about your knowledge of God, it is likely that at times you are aware of just how little you really know about him and understand his ways.  However, if it is true that he is the one who has called you, then of course he must know you.  When you sit down with him, you are sitting down with the one who knows you utterly and completely, and still loves you with the same passion he had when your name was first on his breath.

Take time to let this wonderful truth sink in – it was, and still is, God’s pleasure and joy to call you by name.

Jesus is in control

“…go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four drachma coin.” Matthew 17.27

This account of Peter following the instructions of Jesus and finding a coin in the mouth of a fish is definitely a strange story! Could we ask Jesus to pay our bills for us by such strange means?

One way of trying to understand the story is to regard it as an illustration of prayer and the care Jesus has for us.  We all pray about many things, some genuine concerns and others slightly more trivial.  Often we bring them to Jesus because we simply don’t know what else to do about them; if we could sort things out for ourselves we would not need to pray about them.

What is fascinating about this story is that even as Peter and Jesus speak together about their situation, Jesus already knows the answer.  As you bring your requests to Jesus, whether they are large or small, it’s good to know that he is not scratching his head in confusion!  He is Lord overall and even if you do not know what can be done or see a way through – Jesus can!

Growing in the truth

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Psalm 22.1

One of the reasons why many people love the psalms is that they contain the whole range of human emotions, so it’s easy for us to identify with them and let the words of the psalmists’ become our words. The challenge of the psalms is that they often seek to lead us from an emotion to a new truth, and we are called to grow with the psalm to find the reality of the truth it expresses.

Psalm 22 is a great example of this. Throughout the psalm there seems to be a dialogue between desperation and hope – a tension with which so many of us can identify.  On the one hand, it speaks of the reality that many may feel of being forsaken by God, yet a few verses later it proclaims that God is enthroned as the Holy One (verse 3).  It mentions being mocked and ridiculed (verse 7), yet also declares that God is the one who has not hidden his face from us (verse 24).  God does not condemn us for feelings of desperation and this psalm, along with some others, gives us a voice to express our desperation.  Yet it also presents us with wonderful truths that function like open doors, so that by going through them we can find new and different outlooks for our lives.

Choose a psalm, read through it now, and find a phrase that you can hold on to throughout the day.  Let it serve as an ‘open door’ through which you can catch a fresh glimpse of God and he can convey a wonderful truth to you.

Letting grace flow through us

‘But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ 2 Peter 3.18

Yesterday we were exploring this wonderful invitation to grow our Christian lives by revelling in the kindness and goodness of Jesus.  As you begin to take his grace seriously, you will discover that it is not just of benefit to you as an individual but also that Jesus wants you to allow him to pour his grace through you to others.

Since the presence of Jesus dwells in each of us through the Holy Spirit, it should be entirely natural for us to let the grace of Jesus flow through us to others, so that they might experience him through us. Sadly this is not always the case and what people encounter in some Christians is a far cry from the grace and love of Jesus.

Yet again, the words of Jeremiah (15, verse 16) are so pertinent in encouraging us to recognise the wonder of the presence of God within us: ‘I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.’  Today, as you find yourself speaking or ministering to others, call this verse to mind and in this way allow the grace of Jesus to flow through you to them.

Growing in grace

‘But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ 2 Peter 3.18

If we pause to think about it, this verse is quite remarkable.  It’s about how we should aim to grow in our Christian lives, and if we were to suggest some possible areas for growth it’s likely we would come up with suggestions such as more obedience, deeper prayer lives and increased commitment.  However, this verse simply encourages us to grow ‘in the grace and knowledge’ of Jesus.

Growing in our experience of the grace of God is such a beautiful invitation – it’s almost like giving a chocolate lover a job as a product tester in a chocolate factory!  It is an invitation to explore the wonderful kindness and goodness of Jesus and to revel in the fact that we are utterly loved, accepted and forgiven. The main difference between what Jesus offers and the chocolate factory analogy is that we are not called simply to enjoy the product, but to let the grace point us to the one who pours out the grace.

Spend a while thoroughly enjoying the fact that everything Jesus has given to you – his love, salvation and your life with him – is because he loves you so much.  Let your contemplation of these things cause you to fix your eyes upon him in a deeper way so that right now you begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

What are we looking at?

“For look, the wicked bend their bows;” Psalm 11.2

The main issue addressed in this psalm is what can we do when evil is all around us? We only have to watch the news or read a newspaper to recognise that there does seem to be so much evil in various forms, so what can we do?

A common response is one of despair; to look at the world and feel that things can only get worse until there is an inevitable collapse.  However the response advocated in this psalm is to worship.  David looked around him at the unfolding situation and then turned his mind to the truth proclaimed in verse 4: ‘…the LORD is on his heavenly throne.’ In other words, no matter what we may see, or what is reported to us, God has not been removed from his throne. He is still the Creator God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the one before whom every knee shall bow.

There may well be practical things that you feel called to do to help, or perhaps the opposite is true and you can’t see any way in which you can get involved.  No matter which of these applies, begin by turning your attention away from the things you see around you and instead focus on the reality of the Lord, still enthroned on high where he is reigning now and always.