“Did You Miss Me, Nana?”

Several years ago, when our kids and grandkids drove down to see us, one of the grands bounded into the house upon their arrival and announced loudly to Rhonda, “Did you miss me, Nana?”  It became one of those special snapshots of our time with kids that we will always remember.

So, I won’t make you answer the question, “Did you miss me?”, but I will state emphatically that I missed you.  After five years and 400 posts of writing almost weekly, sometime a little over a year ago, I just stopped.  It didn’t start out as a plan to stop; it just happened.  And God allowed the inkwell to run dry.

But now, after a year of seeking, serving, praying, learning, sharing, studying, teaching, loving, and a myriad of other ways of living into our community here, I feel like God has given me a message to move forward with.

One of my honest concerns when God pushed the pause button on my writing was that my message had become a one-topic mantra.  Maybe my New Covenant soapbox was out of balance.  Maybe my laser-like focus on who we are in Christ was too narrow for the challenges and varieties of what the Christian life looks like.  Maybe I was too optimistic about the human condition, especially our promised power over sin.

Because it was a tumultuous year of challenge.  My mom’s passing, eight months after suffering a debilitating stroke brought many questions about end-of-life issues.  Walking with friends through divorce, cancer, pain, death of a teenager, children walking away from faith, resistant believers all tested my thinking about what the Christian life should look like or more specifically, where does the power lie to get it right?  And why doesn’t it come easier?

As you might expect, the answers that God brought to mind over the year were some yesses and some noes.  Yes, I had become repetitive.  Yes, I often wrote in the theoretical or spiritual realm, sometimes ignoring the practical realities.  And I was usually pushing the pendulum hard in one direction in hopes of balancing out what I perceived as out-of-balance Bible teaching.

But there was also a loud “no” side of my investigation.  No, we literally cannot overstate the riches of what we inherited at our new birth.  No, we cannot overemphasize the importance of the provision or promises of the New Covenant.  No, we can never exhaust the idea of who we are “in Christ.”  And I became as convinced as ever that understanding who we are in Christ; understanding “I in Christ” and “Christ in me” – a concept referred to over 200 times in the New Testament alone – is paramount in living the Christian life.  The promise, the absolute reality, the supernatural fact that Christ is living His life through me brings incredible balance, power, peace, love, and joy into our lives.

Jesus promised, “In that day, you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (Jn 14:20).  That day has come!  The indwelling of Christ Himself happened to us when we embraced the gospel message of Jesus.  And that indwelling of Christ Himself happened to us because of the gospel of Jesus; His life, death, and resurrection on our behalf.  It is an incredible gift; a pure and free gift of God’s grace.

So let’s get back in the saddle and think together about how we put this life-energizing concept – that Christ lives in us – into practice.  And let’s find together God’s provision and promise of a life set free.  What does “a life set free” look like?  We will explore that together in the weeks to come.