I discovered something recently. I discovered the power of a simple prepositional phrase. Admittedly, that phrase is a little odd when you first hear it. It is a little odd because we don’t speak like this too often. And that phrase is something I try to orient my life around, a newfound reality, if you will. That phrase is “in Christ.”
Jesus gave an analogy once that he was the vine and we are the branches. The branches, we are told in John, will only survive if they are connected to the vine. The branches will only survive if they are in the vine. It’s like the Christmas tree you might have in your family room (unless you are an artificial tree person, than a pox upon your household!). That tree was cut down in the recent past and was brought into the lot for the sale. The tree is no longer connected to the roots that nourished it. While it might be a gorgeous tree for the month of December, towards the end of the month it will surely begin to dry out. No matter what you try to do, that tree will look horrible come January.
The same is true for the life of someone who claims to be a follower of Christ. In my own personal experience, if I remove myself from the source of life, I will begin to dry up. Yet, if I am in God’s Word, if I pray, if I choose to follow him daily, then my life will take a tremendously different route. Hear me though, this will not bring a free pass in terms of suffering. It will not remove me not give me an easy life, there is still great sin and suffering in this world, and we wait for the return of the King to right the injustice completely (see Why Christmas is a Dangerous Holiday).
Christianity today had a great article along these lines. Sarah Lebhar Hall reminded me of the ultimate end of being rooted in Christ:
“Jesus wants us to know the ending of our story. Otherwise, the terror of the unknown would distract us from living life to the fullest. Because we are united to Christ, when we look at him, we see the end of our story. We do get to come home safely. That changes our experience of this ‘mission’ that is our lives. We can live them joyfully, as adventure stories and not tragedies in the making.”
Dear reader, if you are in Christ, you do know the ending of the story. Those who have been given to Christ will not slip through the fingers of his nail-pierced hand. You will be preserved and will be raised to glory when Christ comes again in his second Advent. We get to go home safely and we will be preserved. For those who are in Christ have a hope of glory and this hope will not fail.
What have you discovered recently?