I was just sitting here thinking about the greatest Bible study I was ever a part of. It was in the USA but with a Laotian community of believers. I was at a friend’s house for a Laotian birthday party. Suddenly right in the middle of it all, it seemed to come abruptly to an end because a majority of the people wanted to go and separate themselves to study the Bible. This majority was the Laotians. It would have never crossed my mind to study the Word at a party, I am sad to admit. I was invited by my friend to join them and very gladly accepted. We sat around a circle on the hard floor of an empty house that was being built next door. The Laotian minister gave each person a verse in a scripture passage that he had planned for their study that night. They came prepared to study the Word. They all had their Bibles. We prayed and then we went around the circle taking turns reading the scripture and then sharing what it meant to us. One interpreted so we could all understand. I believe we studied Ephesians. I don’t remember a lot about what was said that day but I remember the beauty in the hunger in these people and in their posture and reverence toward the Word of God. They didn’t take the freedom to study for granted. There was no hurrying. We sat there and studied for quite a while. I wonder that I have never seen that kind of hunger in any group of English speaking Christians that I have met. I have seen it in one or two people but never in such a large group. Surely it exists…I pray for that degree of hunger and that posture.
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. Ephesians 1:9-10
Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Speaking of mysteries (well some of us were)…I have been blown away these last few weeks by two words…”In Him.” These words keep coming up in different forms like “in Him” and “in Christ.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 says In Him we are God’s possession
2 Corinthians 5:17 says In Him we are a new creation
Romans 8:1 says In Him there is no condemnation
1 Corinthians 15:22 says In Him we are made alive
Colossians 1:28 says In Him we will stand as perfect before the Father
That is just of few scriptures of about 114 that reference in some way being IN HIM.
It seems to be everywhere I look lately and this past week even came up in our Sunday school class. We take scripture and do word studies to see what God reveals. From verses assigned we are to choose two words that are speaking to us and then share. Some days we all have the same word, some days different. One of the verses this week was this passage above from 1 Thessalonians.
Seeing a pattern in what God is showing me in scripture and study and what God was laying on my heart, the words I chose was “in”- well, with a word like “in” there is no way to discount the words that follow. So I looked it up in the context of “in Him” or “in Christ”…although I am sure it can apply in others ways as well.
Listed below are the definitions.
“In” definitions – 1 a. 1 a – used as a function word to indicate inclusion, location, or position within limits – IN the lake – wounded IN the leg – IN the summer
2. 2 – used as a function word to indicate means, medium, or instrumentality – written IN pencil – bound IN leather
3 a. 3 a – used as a function word to indicate limitation, qualification, or circumstance – alike ∼ some respects – left IN a hurry- broke IN pieces
4. 4 – used as a function word to indicate purpose – said IN reply
5. 5 – used as a function word to indicate the larger member of a ratio – one IN six is eligible
When I got to definition #5 of the word “in” and put it into that context of “in Him” I almost came unglued. I saw this picture in my mind of the church/body, standing together as one, and we stood tall toward heaven with Jesus- as the head and the whole- (larger ratio). Then each of us and all of us were equally a part of the whole, but individual unto ourselves(smaller ratios that make up the larger). While totally individual, we were all totally a part of each other and each as close to the head as any other, though not the head- the head was only Jesus Christ. In my “mind’s eye” it was absolutely one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen…as I continued to “see” individuals would fall off of the whole and then – beauty would diminish a tiny bit at a time. But when added to, beauty would increase. It excited me so much and it saddened me too…I know I am not doing it justice because I can’t exactly explain it yet. Maybe it is a picture to paint somehow, someday…in words or on canvas or just in action. Not really sure.
Through that picture though, I had a realization of the need for each individual and for their wellbeing being interdependent (is that the correct word?) with my own needs and wellbeing. I need you and you need me. All of us. There is enough room for everyone to be in the BODY and there is need in the body for every one that He created…though some won’t choose it. Am I totally off base in the way I am seeing this because I just keep getting this picture?
Through these words “in Him” and some other things, God is developing such a burden in me for souls. I have been asking God to send me out somehow…but I thought I meant for a week or two to some foreign place where no one knows me. In a foreign place they may see me as peculiar in the way I appear but to be peculiar at home, because of who I am, is soooooo hard. Even still, I feel Him calling me here to my home and community and my country. To do what?!? What can I do here? I don’t really get it yet, but I feel I am being prepared to love in ways that I never dreamed I would and to love some people who I have never been all that interested in…just being honest.
I asked for it but it is strange to feel it coming to pass in my spirit when my mind is not at all there yet. I expected my spirit and body to follow my mind. Lately though, all I am thinking on is things like “in Him” and unity and the body as Christ sees the body. I find myself crying for it and crying that I will even want it….I KNOW! Don’t say it! …but it is where I find myself. What a challenge! I don’t want it because it is anything about who I am because I am a very selfish person (though I don’t want to be and I pray for a change in my heart every day) BUT I want it because He is putting it in me, despite me.
Have more to say on “in Him” but will save it. FYI, other word for Sunday School and 1 Thessalonians I chose was “continually”…whoa! way too late to even try to go there tonight : )
2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
So my thoughts….If we are the body of Christ then we were crucified with Him; we were buried, raised and that also means that we were resurrected with Him. Are we seated with Him? What!!! Could it be that we are seated with Him and share all the blessings with Him, now?
Also…if we are the body of Christ….I mean we really are His body, then He is also what lives, really lives, in us since we no longer live. Melissa is dead; God lives. wow… It is not us living but Him through us. I can kind of understand it, even if in an extremely elementary way, but I can’t yet explain (but you know I will try eventually) in my own human words what I get from that. It is making me crazy…but in a good way : )