Today I was remembering a very special Christmas, the Christmas of 1980. The Christmas before had been difficult and brought about huge changes that resulted in us leaving Campus Crusade, joining World Wide Disciplship and moving to Georgia. The aftermath of leaving Crusade found me a struggling mess, hungering for peace, rest, healing and acceptance. I had spent my life trying to gain love and acceptance through “good performance ” and I was tired and weary. I knew Jesus; I loved God; I lived to grow in Him–but something was not working.
The next months in Georgia cemented new things that God had been showing me through the struggles. We were learning new truths about what it means to be “In Christ.” Epehsians and Colossians were my campgrounds where Paul says 9 times in Ephesians 1 and more than 10 times in Colossians that we are “in Christ.” I already knew Christ was “in me,” but I had never been taught that I was “in Him.” After about a year of praying through my struggles, digging, studying, and counseling, I had a better understanding of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and what it meant to be “in Him.” The deeper meaning of being “in someone” means that “whatever happened to them happened to me,” and “whatever is true of them is true of me.”
Before receiving Christ I was “in Adam.” That’s why I couldn’t go to Heaven. I sinned when Adam did. I needed to die to that life and find a new one. I needed to be “in Christ.” I was put there when I was 9 when I received Him at VBS, but I had never heard why that was important or what it means. What I learned that year before Christmas 1980 changed my view of everything and helped me find the love and acceptance for which I had struggled and yearned. I didn’t have to “perform” to get it, it was already true because I am now “in Christ.” Whatever happened to Him, happened to me and whatever is true of Him is true of me. I am accepted in the Beloved! (Epehsians 1:4KJV) That was great to know and brought a lot of rest and freedom. Then Christmas brought another epiphany! This is how it went:
If I am “in Christ,” and I have His Eternal Life which has no beginning and no end, then I was in the Manger with Him. That means I have a new “babyhood,” and a new childhood; a whole new past. Wow! I got tears in my eyes every time I saw a Nativity scene. Being in the Manger with Him brought new meaning to God’s love and acceptance of us in sending His Son. It’s hard to explain in words. I felt like I was born again–again.
Realizing I have a new past brought healing and relief that started me on a path of knowing Jesus and myself better. But knowing that did not mean I never had to work on any of my painful wounds. These truths became the foundation of who I am and what Christ has done for me, but through the years I still have had to take specific memories and lies to Him for growth and healing. These basic truths make it easier.
If we know Christ as Savior and Lord, we are “in Him” and what He says about us is the truth no matter what. That is our foundation. We cannot get any closer to Him than being One with Him. We can see ourselves in the Manger with Him and when the trials and struggles come in life that bring up the specific lies and wounds that He wants to heal, we can know Immanuel is with us. He is in us. We are in Him.
“He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”