We put our trust in Christ by faith and by faith alone.
By Larry Kreider
I am going to let you in on a divine secret. It is the secret to living a victorious life. “For this is the secret, Christ lives in you” (Colossians 1:27).
How did we receive Christ as Lord? By faith. How do we live out our Christian life each day? By faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Faith is Our First Response to God
Faith is our first response to God. We put our trust in Christ by faith and by faith alone. We cannot depend on our abilities. We must depend on His abilities. We can never gain acceptance from God by our own moral lifestyle or good works. Our efforts to “try harder” at being a better student, a better spouse, a better small group leader, or a stronger Christian witness can never gain for us more acceptance from God. Placing our faith in God alone for everything is the only way to please Him. We place our faith in the living God and serve Him for one reason: because He is God. He is worthy of our praise and our complete allegiance.
When we received Jesus as our Lord and placed our faith in Him, something drastically changed! Christ is now actually living in us. Galatians 2:20 tells us clearly, “Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Why is this so important to understand? Because when I realize that Christ lives in me, I begin to see life from a different perspective. I see it as it really is. Christ actually lives in me. The same Holy Spirit who dwelt in Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, who gave Him the power to live a supernatural life, is also in me enabling me to live a supernatural life. When I lay my hands on someone to pray for them, it is actually Christ praying for them through me. When I encourage someone in my small group, Christ is actually encouraging them through me.
Romans 4:3 tells us clearly, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” The word accounted literally means “credited.” The Lord credits our account with righteousness when we believe Him! Imagine someone depositing money in your account at the bank each week. You may say, “I don’t deserve this.” But your bank account would continue to grow whether you deserved it or not! That is exactly what God does. The Bible says that if we believe God, like Abraham, the Lord puts righteousness into our account! So, being right with God and living a victorious life in Christ does not depend so much on our performance, but depends on our faith and trust in Him.
Don’t Rely on Feelings
Christians often make the mistake of relying too much on their feelings. One day we feel close to God and the next day they don’t feel Him. We cannot trust our feelings. We have to trust the truth of the Word of God. When we are tempted to be discouraged or depressed by our mistakes and failures, we must make the decision to replace those thoughts with the thoughts that God thinks about us. See yourself as God sees you. Remember, Christ lives in you!
It’s like this. If you’re in the hospital and they take out your almost-ruptured appendix, what are you going to concentrate on? The pain? The stitches? Or are you going to say, “Praise God! The poison is being removed. I’m being healed!” We choose to think of one or the other, the pain or the healing. If we keep our eyes on Jesus and on His righteousness, then God is free to allow the abundant life that He promised to permeate our lives.
It is only by Christ living in us that we are able to do anything. We have absolutely no chance of obeying God with our own strength. We must have faith in Christ living in us. Paul the apostle found the secret when he tells us in Colossians 2:2 “God’s secret plan, … is Christ himself.”
Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself. I talk to myself all the time. The Bible says David talked to himself; he “encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV). We should be doing the same thing. I encourage you to get up in the morning and say, “I am righteous through faith in Jesus. I am a man or woman of God. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me today (Philippians 4:13). Christ lives in me!”
About Larry Kreider
Larry has spent the past four decades training leaders to make disciples with the small group concept. Larry serves as the international director of DOVE International, a worldwide network of over 1,000 churches in 26 nations. Larry has written more than 40 books and travels extensively teaching and imparting practical discipleship to leaders globally. Read about Larry or catch up on Larry’s blog.