Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Gift



15Do you not know that oyour bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins sagainst his own body.
1 Corinthians 6: 15 - 18 NKJV

I'm about to go where few christian writers have gone.  Indeed, there are a few subjects in this religion which you would assume would be out of bounds.  I mean, some things you just don't talk about, right?  I'm ignoring all of the warning signs and red flags and diving right in.  So, as a christian, how do feel about...sex?  I'm not speaking in terms of our human desires here, that will come soon enough.  How is it that you see sex as a christian?  Well, I'll tell you how we're SUPPOSED to see it.  Sex is  part of that relationship which occurs between a husband and wife.  So, in order to have sex, you need a husband and a wife, right?  Sure, but I'm betting that if you were to ask more than a few christians out there you would be surprised at just how many have experienced sex outside of the boundries of marriage.  How can that be?  Has God somehow relaxed His moral code?  Not really, it is we who have gone astray in this case.  I will say that sex, as it was meant to be, is not a bad thing.  Sex, as our heavenly Father intended it, is neither dirty or a sin.  Yet, that is exactly how most christians view it.  All too often we see sex through the eyes of the "thou shalt not" commandment and not for the real reason our heavenly Father instituted it into our lives.  I'm guessing that God wanted His creation to prosper, as we're told in the creation story {Genesis 1:28}.  Indeed, God tells us to "be fruitful and multiply."  God WANTS us to enjoy sex!  That is, in its original, organic form.  This is the gift which God has given a man and a woman who make the decision to live their lives together.  Wait, what about the rest of us?  Are sexual desires only reserved for those who are married?  Unfortunately this has never been the case.  We're all too familiar with the case of King David, a man after Gods own heart.  Unfortunately, David followed his own desires and commited adultry with another mans wife.  Now, this really isn't too uncommon in todays world, but back then they had ways of dealing with those caught in adultry.  Let's just say that David should have been lucky he stayed alive.  However, God had other plans for His friend.  He does for us as well. 

1Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7: 1 - 5 nKJV

There are times that I have considered myself a mere hypocrite for even discussing this topic.  Of course, you would have to have seen the road I have traveled in order to even understand that.  In my day, I was a man who was addicted not only to pornography, but to frequent visits to Portlands strip club scene as well.  Like King David before me, I followed my own desires into behaviors which were of no benefit to me.  I sacraficed what was meant to be a gift for m own personal pleasure.  I mention this for the simple fact that sexual desires are not simply confined to the marriage relationship.  As we were created in our Lords very image, we are all which He is {Genesis 1:27}.  We are created not to be seperate or independent from our heavenly Father, but to be one in Him {John 17:23}.  It is in this union by which we should live our lives.  So, how are we to respond to sexual desires outside of the marriage relationship.  Well, as one who strayed down the wrong path many times I would say...very carefully.  Remember that the object of our attention is indeed someones wife, daughter, husband or son.  Our modern culture will glorify those who follow their desires.  We're bombarded each day by messages that it's perfectly fine to give in to our own desires.  But wait, who's desires are they really?  The apostle Paul gives us a clue in Galations.  Paul makes the claim that he himself has died, replaced by Christ Jesus {Galations 2:20}.  As Paul tells us, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."  Knowing this is key to knowing who we truly are.  As I said, we are neither seperate nor independent from God.  We never have been.  I can honestly say that my desires, are His own.  So, when we follow what we perceive to be our own desires, are they truly ours alone?  Definately not.  I would say that as we encounter our own sexual desires that we should view them in the perspective which they were meant to be, as the desire of Christ Jesus for us.  What does that mean for the single christian?  Well, it means that those desires you feel are real and authentic.  It also means that He is showing you His desire for you.   I no longer see my transgressions as that noose around my neck.  Christ does not desire bad things for me.  That is not part of His gift for us.

~Scott~

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Irrevocable Promise



7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4: 7 - 8 NKJV 

I asked a dear friend the other day his opinion on the success of his own marriage.  True to form, his answer was half sarcastic.  His secret?  Simple...get married, get divorced...figure out what went wrong...fix it then get married again.  Now, obviously most people will not adhere to this model, but it worked for my friend.  Although his own relationship with his wonderful wife has taken more than a few twists and turns, he remains devoted to his relationship with her.  How many others can claim that?  To remain in a devoted relationship with one person for a lifetime.  The truth is, I have been blessed in my life with more than a few examples of a sound marriage relationship.  However, it is my friends take on the marriage commitment that made me realize just how personal, and important, this commitmant is.  He described marriage as "to will another persons good."  I agree.  That is, willing another persons good through a UNBREAKABLE pledge.  The way that I see this is simple.  We are to put the needs, desires and well being of our mate above our own.  Now, that may seem a bit extreme to those who believe in throw away marriages, and my friend may correct me, but this is how I feel the marriage pledge should be taken.  This isn't simply a promise, but a unbreakalble vow.  How many people can adhere to a pledge like that?  Well, in my lifetime I have seen precious few marriages that have lasted longer than ten years.  Why is that?  Do people simply get tired of one another?  Is adhering to a marriage commitment really so hard?  Apparently it is.  What I learned  in the rash of short term marriages which I have seen is this, that people refuse to get over themselves.  Being single my entire life, I've often wondered if I have what it takes to enter into that marriage commitment.  My friends think I do, but I wonder.  One thing is for certain, if and when I do enter into my own commitment, life as I now know it will end.  For I will go from a life of living for myself to a life of devoting my life to another.  

4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6hdoes not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7 NKJV 

Most people are familiar with the words of the marriage vow.  To have and to hold, in sickness and in health.  Yet, when it comes to the tests of real life we quickly forget those words.  How do we love someone when their own family has decided that she would be better off without you?  How do we cherish someone who has just admitted to a long standing affair?  Although these are extreme circumstances, I bring them up for one reason, to illustrate just how fragile we can be when it comes to devoting ourselves to another.  Not only do we marry our love, but all that she brings into the relationship from her own life.  I might not like the way she talks, the way she snores or the way she decorates my home, but all of that comes along with it.  This is all a endearing part of a life lived together.  To not see these things as hinderances, but as gifts is a unique part of our marriage commitment.  This is the life lived in the promise.  How soon do we forget that we promised her to always stand by her?  How quickly do we forget that we promised to always love him?  These aren't simply words we say in the heat of the moment, but a promise made which will never be broken.  If only that were the case.  The truth is, a very wise and godly man who I trust got married and then divorced.  Then, after some soul searching and learning our Lords purpose in his own life, he married his wife once again.  I didn't know them before his divorce, so I cannot attest to that chapter of his life, but I have seen the changes in his own life which Christ has brought he and his wife through.  This is the commitment.  Dare I say that we should commit ourselves to our own mate in the same way God has commited Himself to us?  What a concept.  I still think back on some of the best advice on marriage I've ever gotten.  Get married...get divorced...figure out what went wrong...fix it...get married again.  In a world where the marriage relationship has become disposable at best, wiser words were never said.

~Scott~ 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Can You Relate?



21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He 8made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called 9Woman, Because she was taken out of 1Man.”
Genesis 2: 21 - 23 NKJV

I've been asked more than a few times if I'm a christian.  My usual response is something along the lines of, "not only am I a christian, but I walk with Jesus every day."  Walking with Jesus, I've heard that phrase tossed about in the church more and more.  What does it mean to walk with Jesus?  Well, in my opinion, I really don't think that we can ever walk with Christ unless we truly know Him.  How do we come to know the man Jesus?  Again, I really don't think the institutional church does us too many favors when it comes to knowing Jesus.  I mean, really knowing Him.  How would you like to know Christ as you know your most personal friend?  Instead of "being like" Jesus, how would you like to share that close, intimate relationship with Him?  See, modern theology has taught us that there is no way that we can develop a personal relationship with Christ.  Jesus bled and died on the cross, rose again three days after that and promptly ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  This is where the disconnect lies between who Jesus WAS and who He is today.  I don't dispute the scripture which claims that Jesus is indeed in heaven with our heavenly Father.  However, this is just part of His story.  As I've written before, that cross wasn't the end of the road for Him, but a new begining.  It is at the cross where we, as believers, get sidetracked.  All too often we see the cross of Jesus as the end of His journey.  He was now risen, justified and complete, what else was there for Him to accomplish?  If you follow the doctrine of the church, this is what you will come to believe.  Believe this, and your search for a intimate relationship with Christ will be that much more difficult.  For how can we have a close relationship with someone we hardly even know?  From scripture, we understand that God created woman out of man {Genesis 2:22}.  Well, our own relationship with Jesus is similar.

20“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galations 2: 20 NKJV

So, who is Jesus?  Who is this which many have described as the perfect man?  Too many christians cannot answer this question because they do not share a personal relationship with Christ.  Can you describe Jesus the same way that you would your best freind?  Are your feelings as deep for Him as your closest family member?  I would say that many fail to achieve this level of intimacy with Him.  For the longest time my own view of Jesus was one of a long distance relationship.  Jesus was in heaven and I was here on a fallen world just waiting for His return so that I could finaly meet Him.  You've all heard that sermon before.  There was a seperation, a distance between us.  I did not realize that which the apostle Paul tells us in Galations, that Jesus was as close as our next breath.  How close?  Well, Paul tells us that not only did Jesus live in him, but that he had died with Christ.  What?  I've never heard any sunday morning pulpit pounder preach on this!  I'm guessing that's why I failed to realize the truth of Christ in me.  It is Paul who tells us that our old man, our old sin nature, died on that cross with Jesus.  This is why we need to see the cross of Jesus not as the end of the road but as a new begining.  We no longer need worry about how God will see our sins.  He saw them, and Jesus put them to death.  As Jesus proclaimed on the cross, "IT IS FINISHED!"  The way is now clear for a more personal relationship with Christ.  I would say that only thing standing in our way of a more personal relationship with Jesus is our own understanding of who we really are.  If we're to take Pauls words to heart, then we know that we...are Jesus.  Everythig we will ever see and experience, we do as He who lives in us.  There is no longer a void between ourselves and Christ.  I would suggest that there never was.  It is we who have created that void through our own teachings.  It is the desire of Jesus to be in a personal relationship with us.  Can you relate? 


6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6: 6 - 11 NKJV

~Scott~

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Losing A Brother



4whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
2 Corinthians 4: 4 NKJV

We recently had the sad experience of requesting a brother of ours not join us in fellowship.  Now, before you take heed of all the fake christian red flags you might see out there, keep in mind the context of our decision.  What fellowship is there with a believer who seeks to argue his point each and every time you're together.  Or, to place it in biblical terms, can two who are of opposing views walk together?  Apparently the prophet Amos didn't think so {Amos 3:3}.  The apostle Paul went so far as claiming that "bad company ruins good morals" {1 Corinthians 15:33}.  There are plenty of examples in scripture where two individuals of opposing views cannot coexist.  We're told to not be "unequally yolked to unbelievers" {2 Corinthians 6:14}.  Still, despite all of the scripture backing, it turned out to be a hard decision.  The simple explanation is that both parties had differing views of the gospel.  A gospel of sin, punishment and guilt simply isn't for me.  For me, Christ Jesus bled and died to cleanse me of all of my iniquities.  However, if you listen to the other version, Jesus only forgave half of our sins, and the remaining sins we constantly need to seek forgiveness from God for.  Well, first off, this belief makes God a liar.  For we are told in scripture that Jesus bled and died to forgive our sins {1 Peter 3:18, 1 Corinthians 5:3}.  This is indeed one of the hallmarks of our christian faith.  To believe otherwise is, I believe, a denial of Christ.  So sure are we of the fact that Jesus dealt with our sin issue is echoed by Paul in Romans {Romans 6:6-11}.  Are we, being dead to sin, still enslaved by it?  I don't think so. 

3Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Amos 3: 3 NKJV

We do not study a faith which includes two ot three gospels of Jesus.  There is but one message of the glory of Christ Jesus, and it is given to us in scripture.  Where all too many people get it twisted is when they seek to inject their own beliefs into scripture.  This, unfortunately, is easy to do.  Say I believe din my heart that God was a vengeful God.  Well, there are plenty of scriptures to be found in the old testament that would support my belief.  Taken out of context, almost any scripture can be changed to fit a misguided belief.  We've seen the likes of Jim Jones and David Koresh take the scriptures we know so well and lead so many to death.  I believe that this is exactly why Paul advised us to "test the spirits" {1 John 4:1}.  Believe me, there will be plenty of others who will come along and try to inject their own beliefs into the gospel.  The truth of the gospel of Christ Jesus guides us as we seek to discern what many will claim to be truth.  For as Christ dwells in us, we are able to hear directly from He who saved us {Galations 2:20}.  It is Jesus who will speak to us when we seek Him.  Are you unsure of the so called truth someone else is proclaiming?  Seek to hear from Christ who is in you and He will help you discern what you are hearing.  One sure fire way to recognize the true truth of Christ from a bogus version comes when you hear someone claim that Christ Jesus has not come in the flesh.  If you ever hear someone proclaim this, run away from this heresy as fast as you can {1 John 4:3}.  The sad fact remains that we may lose a few aquaintences along the way, but what we've gained is so much better.  Do not take this as a invitation to not fellowship and speak the truth of Christ Jesus, but to shout His truth from the rooftops to all who will hear with open hearts. 

1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
1 John 4: 1 - 3 NKJV

~Scott~

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Then There Were Two



21And the LORD God caused a adeep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was etaken out of Man.”
Genesis 2: 21 - 23 NKJV

I have a friend who, when it comes to the subject of how he met his wife of over fifty years, will claim that he knew almost instantly that this was the girl for him.  Well, fifty years later it seems that his forsight has proven correct.  When I asked him once what the secret of success in his marriage was he said simply "divorce was never a option."  So, it is with the story of this successful union that I delve into the subject of christian courtship and dating.  Well, I suppose that I could simply apply these thoughts to every male/female social interaction as well.  By infering the word "christian" we often hope to infer all that is well and good and right about our subject.  See, this is how it used to be, back in a more civilized time.  Back when my mom and dad first met there was no plenty of fish or match.com to guide two people into meeting each other.  No, we were left to our own devices.  Of course, this meant that two people who were attracted to each other actually had to talk and interact with each other.  I don't think that I'm too far off base when I say that this is how our heavenly Father intended it to be.  I don't feel that we were destined to hide behind a keyboard in our search for a mate.  That's way too easy.  See, relationships take time and they take effort.  My same friend who claims that divorce was never a option will also tell me that it hasn't always been smiles and sunshine in his own relationship with his lovely wife.  I'm guessing that it's this that scares most people away from actual relationship with another.  I mean, who wants to put effort into something we might never see the rewards of, right?  For me, the hardest part is communication.  I'll admit that I have gotten better over time, but what scared the living hell out of me was the fact that I would actually need to converse with someone of the opposite sex.  What if she didn't like me?  What if she thought I was a geek?  Well, there have been many people who have thought many things about me over the years, true and untrue.  The thing is, it is this fear of how someone would see me that usually kept me from engaging in relationships with others.  I was much safer in my own little world all too myself.  The trouble with that is, I was all alone.  Sure, I had my friends, but as for relationships with others I was lacking.  I'm thinking that this isn't how God wanted it to be.

6For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5: 6 - 8 NKJV

One thing that I am glad for is that Jesus doesn't take the same view of starting relationships that I do.  For if He did I might never have known Him as I do.  Jesus never worries about how others might see Him.  Jesus never worries about wasted efforts in a relationship.  The only thought in His mind is bringing us into union with Him {John 17:21}.  He doesn't hesitate in His desires.  Wait, if that's true then why does it take so damn long for someone to come to that realization of their own relationship with Christ?  Well, have you ever given up on a pursuing a relationship simply because you thought the other person wasn't interested?  That's kind of like our own relationship with Jesus.  It isn't Christ who has passed us by but we who have failed to realize who He truly is.  See, Jesus doesn't toss us aside simply because we may feel we're not worthy of His love.  This is us failing to realize the true nature of Jesus.  For it is His desire that we would come to know Him.  It is His desire that we would come to know that it is He who dwells in us {Galations 2:20}.  This is the essence of our relationship with Jesus.  We were never meant to share a long distance relationship with Him.  As with our human long didtance relationships, they rarely work out too well.  All too often we take what we've learned from our human relationships and paste them upon our relationship with Christ.  Bad move.  Our own human relationships are speckled with anger, doubt and distrust.  Thes are the wrong things to bring into a union with Jesus.  For the longest time I could not realize a personal relationship with Him because of my own relationship failings.  I carried that over into my interaction with Jesus.  As a result, I failed to see just how much He desired to know me.  Of course, it is the desire of Jesus to know each and every one of us.  Our relationship with Jesus is like no other relationship we've ever had.  One void of all that is negative.  A relationship where all we have is His love for us.  Not as two...but as one.

20“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, jthat they may be one just as We are one: 23“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."
John 17: 20 - 23 NKJV

~Scott~

Monday, September 30, 2019

A Character Issue



14But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord,

the veil is taken away.
2 Corinthians 3: 14 - 16 NKJV

I recently had a pretty spirited discussion with a aquaintance of mine on the subject of the indwelling Christ.  That is, Christ in you.  When I say that this was a spirited discussion, what I mean to say is that this was a argument over scripture.  Yes, it seems that this is what we've resorted ourselves to.  Again, the word heresy was tossed out there to describe my own beliefs.  So, how can something that is supported by the scriptures be considered heresy?  I guess I would  need a theology degree in order to figure that out.  Am I  heretic?  Well, if I am then I have some company as I'm not the only one who trusts in the truth of Christ Jesus in me.  The apostle Paul tells us of the truth of Christ in us in Galations {Galations 2:20}.  One point that I brought up in my "discussion" was for my companion to shelve his personal feelings about this matter and simply focus on the character of the man Jesus.  Sound simple enough, right?  Yet, all too often our own feelings, our "filter" if you will, get in the way.  One who has been raised in a strict, religious based upbringing might adhere to a filter where each and every sin needs to be accounted for and punished.  However, someone who has felt the burden of their own sin might just take a more lenient approach.  Having been raised in a single parent home, my own filter had difficulty seeing God as my true Father.  For my own memories of what a father was were not very comforting.  That was my filter.  So, as I mentioned to my friend, perhaps we need to simply set aside our own life filters and concentrate on the character of Jesus.  Was Jesus a disciplanarian?  Was it Christ who saw those in the wasteland of their own sin and disgarded them?  What was the response of Jesus to the woman about to be stoned for her sins?  As we focus on the man Jesus was and not on our own filter we began to see how our heavenly Father truly looks upon us.  He does not see us as sinners saved by His grace, but as His loved and cherished children from whom the stain of our sins no longer is an issue.  That's right, the truth is that we are now DEAD to sin.  Paul proclaims this in Romans {Romans 6:6-11}.  Knowing this, what sins are you praying Gods forgiveness for?  When Jesus proclaimed "It is finished!" that was it.  Sins day has come and gone. 

7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4: 7 - 8 NKJV

The way I see it, this all comes down to our own view of who God is.  If we see God as a authoritarian, then we will come up with scripture after scripture to validate our point to others.  However, if we see God for who He truly is, as Love, then we will point out scriptures that tell of His goodness and mercy.  I'll tell you this, I don't believe that it was a authoritarian who loved me enough to cleanse me from all of my sins.  I don't believe that it was a vengeful God who became sin on my behalf that I would be spared its ugly penalty.  Don't get it twisted, there is no other reason by which we are saved but from our Lords love and grace.  He chose not to punish me for my transgressions, although He would have been justifed in doing so.  This is not who God is.  The apostle John tells us this when he prefectly describes the character of God {1 John 4: 7-8}.  So, when we cast aside our own filters and focus only on the character of God what is it that we see?  We see who He truly is...Love.  That's right, God is Love.  This is, and always has been, His character.  Throughout all of our trials, sin and problems, the Love of God has never changed.  He is the very same yesterday, today and forever {Hebrews 13:8}.  God didn't change, WE changed.  We changed in how we viewed Him.  We changed in how we dealt with Him.  Through it all, God has remained the same as He always was.  So, I don't buy into all of that bunk that Gods motive is simply to remain seperate from us and only show up when it's time for His discipline and correction.  If that were true He would make Himself a liar, and we know He's not into that.  When we see God for who He truly is, then we will know the character of God.

~Scott~

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Man In Me



20“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galations 2: 20 NKJV

I woke up this morning wondering, where are you God?  See, the past few days I have been afflicted with a cold, so I figured maybe God God could give me some relief from that.  Well, the trouble with that is, for a instant I began to wonder just where to look for Him.  Of course, in my heart I knew the answer to that question.  God was in the same place He'd always been, in me.  I am the reflection of all which He is.  Not only that, it is now HE who lives, not me {Galations 2:20}.  That's right, the old man I was is pretty much dead now.  This is what the apostle Paul wrote in Galations.  I've also come to realize that it is this truth of Christ Jesus in us that seems to be one of the stumbling blocks in our own understanding of who it is that Jesus really is.  We're more than comfortable with the traditional idea of Jesus as a preacher Son of God who died on the cross for us all.  However, is that all He is?  Not to me.  To me Jesus is much more personal.  Not only does He live in me, but He shares in all which I experience in my life.  If I'm sick, this is what Jesus is feeling as well.  If I am anxious, these are the feelings of Christ in me.  How can that be?  Well, if the old man I once  was has perished {Romans 6:6}, who is left in me but Christ Jesus Himself?  This is the very essence of what Paul tells us in Galations.  Yet, far too many christians miss the boat on this personal relationship with Jesus.  Instead, they strive to "be more like Jesus" which has been part of church theology for thousands of years.  Here's my question, why take the counterfeit when you can have the original?  Why live a life stiving to "be like" Christ when you already are?  It all seems a bit misguided to me. 

6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Likewise you also, 3reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6: 6 - 11 NKJV

The more I matured in my own faith the more I realized that I could never "be like" Jesus as the popular teachings told me.  For the more I tried to be like Him, the more my won guilt and shame over my own sins got in my way.  I've got a feeling that this is the case for more than a few christians today.  Well, I'll tell you that simply being like Jesus is a hamster wheel which you will never get off of.  Believe me, I tried.  The good news is that this was never the way God intended us to live our lives.  We were meant to live our lives IN Him, not "like" Him.  In His prayer in the garden, Jesus reveals this to us.  As He prays, Jesus asks that we would be ONE with the Father as He and the Father are one.  Can there be any stronger evidence that we are simply not created to "be like" Jesus?  I call that a cheap imitation, a knock off.  For even if we achieve that goal of being like Jesus, we still miss out on the personal relationship we were meant to share with Him.  Not only that, but living that life strengthens the false teaching that we are seperate from God.  We were not created to live seperated from God.  However, over the centuries this prevailing church teaching has become the belief of our own relationship with God.  God is in heaven with Jesus, and I am down here on earth.  What union do you see in that scenario?  What relationship are we to have with a Jesus who we are seperated from?  I'll tell you, long distance relationships don't work in this situation.  The first step to knowing the Christ Jesus who is in you is to trust that He is...in you.  After all, we're told that He definately is in us.  We're told that we're to live a union life in Him.  When our veils are lifted, we will know that He indeed lives in us {2 Corinthians 3:14}.  Then we will surely see the man in us. 

20“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who 10will believe in Me through their word; 21“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."
John 17: 20 - 23 NKJV

~Scott~