One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God with us”. We have a choice between two ways to live: with God or without God. The first way is like mowing with a self-propelled engine: the second is like mowing without it.
My greatest regret as a Christian is that for many years, I thought faith amounted to keeping a set of rules. My greatest source of frustration came from the fact that I tried, for many years, to live the Christian life by my own strength. I became part of organised Christianity, but the problem was that I didn’t live up to the standards I professed to live by: I assumed God was frustrated with me and I was miserable.
The solution came when I learned about my identity in Christ and the power of the kingdom of God. It turns out I was missing two essential ideas in Christianity: Christians are indwelt and empowered by Jesus, and we have access to a life with God (the kingdom of God) every moment of our lives. All those years I had it wrong. I cannot make myself a Christian by obeying all the rules.
St Paul writes in Colossians 1:1, “So if you have been raised with Christ…” Notice the language: “you have been.” It is a reality, a truth, a completed act. This is who I really am, not because of what I do, but because of what God has done. I really died with Jesus and I really rose with him, and he really lives in me. When I walk in the Spirit I find a strength I never knew I had access to, wisdom I never found in my own small brain and a joy I never imagined. I can do all of this because God is with me.
And God is within you, calling you to live the Christian life not out of your own willpower, which will always fail, but by the power of Christ, through whom you can do all things, even more than you can ask or imagine.
God is with me in all that I do. I have strength, wisdom and all the provision I need.
Gracious Abba, I do not know why you chose me, but you did. And I know that I do not have any strength on my own. But I also know I can do all things through you who gives me strength. Teach me how to walk with you every step of this day.
What did you feel when you first discovered that God is with you?
In what areas of your life do you struggle to let God be with you? Why?