Test and Know that Christ lives in You
A compelling promise given in the Bible is that Christ lives in believers.
It is a radical, transforming thought.
God’s indwelling presence in the hearts and minds of those who believe in him is a reality that human minds cannot comprehend. People conjure up images of a higher being who exists in the heavens above. World religions teach that humans must somehow appease this higher being with sacrifice and good deeds. A transactional relationship between God and people makes sense.
The Bible paints a completely different picture. God became flesh and made his dwelling among us. For our salvation, he sacrificed himself on the cross and rose again three days later. Every soul who believes in him receives all the benefits from God’s completed work on our behalf.
For those who trust in him, Christ is no longer an abstract image looking down from the heavens, but a real, transforming presence absorbed in their day-to-day life.
Faith accepts this reality whether we feel like it or not. This truth rests upon the certainty of we do not see and being sure in what we hope for.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.Hebrews 11:1
Apart from the truth, believers can be swayed to rest on what is observable to help bring reality to their faith. Traditions and acts of righteousness can be misplaced to draw closer to Christ outside of his Word or be more acceptable in his eyes.
Our soul can often feel symptoms of a virus that manifests itself in a lack of trust in God’s promises.
Clouds of doubt can roll into our lives and threaten our faith. Difficult life circumstances can fog our complete trust in God’s promises. When this happens, the presence of Christ can seem too abstract.
Whenever we feel symptoms of a physical illness, it is good to visit a family physician to nurse us back to health. Even in good health, it is good to have a physical examination to keep us healthy.
The Bible tells us that we ought to have regular spiritual examinations to keep our faith strong and healthy.
Believers are encouraged to examine ourselves before partaking in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:28). This opens our hearts to be reminded, repentant, and renewed as we receive his presence.
Believers are encouraged to ask the Lord to examine or search our hearts and minds (Psalm 139:23) and reveal any anxious thoughts or impure motives. His Spirit through His Word gently corrects or sometimes harshly rebukes our prideful self. Forgiveness of sins is like good medicine that cures guilt and instills hope.
A good doctor will also encourage his patients to keep a good diet and have regular physical exercise. They are many benefits associated with eating well and regular fitness.
Believers who regularly feed themselves on a diet of God’s Word and Sacrament will remain in Christ’s presence and bear fruits of faith.
Proclaiming the gospel is one of the best exercises of our faith.
It is a compelling way to test yourself and know that Christ lives in you.
The impulse to proclaim the gospel is not self-generated, nor motivated by guilt, but inspired by the presence of Christ. He reminds us in his Word that whenever we go and fulfill the commission he bestows on all believers — that He goes with us.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.Matthew 28:19-20
Christ also reminds us that whenever we are placed in a position or granted an opportunity to proclaim His name – even at the risk of great peril – a promise is given that He will provide the words to say (Mark 13:11).
The experience of proclaiming the gospel to others is to experience the presence of Christ. In a real, tangible way, evidence is given that Christ lives in you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you…2 Corinthians 13:5
Testing our faith does not mean testing God. Our sinful hearts tend to have a transactional faith. Like putting coins of good works in a vending machine, our prayers may test God to deliver on our requests. When God doesn’t act favorably to our will or desire, it shakes our faith rather than strengthens it.
Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.Psalm 26:2
A proper testing of faith comes from God instead of us. When God tests us, it is meant to strengthen our faith and trust in his promises rather than rattle our faith. Therefore, the Bible encourages believers to ask God to test them.
Agree or Disagree: The COVID-19 virus is a test from God.
Comment below to share your thoughts.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who live him, who have been called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
God works all things – even viral pandemics – for the good of those who believe in him. Is God testing believers to strengthen our faith? We don’t know. But we can examine ourselves to see if the fruits of the spirit are being revealed in our thoughts and actions.
How can we respond in today’s world?
2020 is exposing a sick nation. The coronavirus is spreading a physical illness that is having a profound effect on our society. And it will not be going away soon.
The societal and political division and unrest is exposing a spiritual illness that has been visibly increasing each year. The solutions are too complex for an individual to solve, but it might be fitting for each of us to have a spiritual examination. Instead of harboring anxious thoughts, the Lord promises believers that they can ask the Holy Spirit to calm our hearts through his presence.
We can pray,
O Lord, test me, and uncover my anxious thoughts. Search me, O Christ, and reveal worries that affect my attitude. Restore to me the joy of my salvation that you won for me on the cross. Use this time to strengthen my trust in your promises. Instill within me a steady diet of your Word. Enliven me to exercise my faith by stepping outside my comfort zone and witness to others. For such a time as this, thank you for setting me apart to be your messenger. In your name, I pray. Amen.
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