Our union, or oneness, with Almighty God is way beyond the grasp of our natural minds, but it is absolutely vital so let us press into it—and not give up.

Our minds and bodies may scream: “No! How can I possibly be one with God if I am ill, feel depressed, keep failing, struggle so much with life?” May I urge you to continue doing whatever is needed or helpful at the physical level, and then make a decision to look into the truth of God’s Word—to find out what it says about you.

Yes, God’s Word speaks volumes about you. If you look into it, you will find that it is an accurate, never-changing mirror, reflecting back to you exactly who you are and to whom you belong: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself” (1 Cor. 6:19, NLT). In his letter to the Colossians, Paul describes your identity very succinctly: “you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

The life of Christ is now our life, and all that is true of Christ is true of us. Christ is now our own identity.

It is only as we say “Yes” to this fact, and start to walk in faith in our new identity, that the truth of who we really are will begin to emerge into our experience. It does require that we look into the Scriptures and meditate upon them, taking them into our days and nights, and applying them in our lives. It means resisting the temptation to give up when nothing seems to be happening.

It helps to remember that there is One who is infinitely more desirous that we come to know and experience who we are in Christ than we are—that is our righteous Father; and He gives us a constant supply of the Holy Spirit to teach us, to encourage us and to guide us.

A stumbling block for many is a key verse which actually gives us entry into this new life: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). We find it extremely difficult to identify with this verse because we are still breathing—clearly not dead. We look at our limitations and failures, and conclude that these cannot be signs of the indwelling Christ. So it remains at the level of theory, very much a mystery; “maybe others get it but I don’t.”

And the power of the love of God is stifled—right there.

But wait! . . . there is a way through this.

Look at the verse from this perspective: It is our separation from God that was crucified with Christ, including all the sinful consequences of separation. That is what has died and has been destroyed forever. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18).

On the cross, Jesus crucified everyone and everything that was not of God, including our “old Adam” nature. That was our separated, sinful nature—the one that causes so very many problems and pains.

Seeing the verse from this perspective helps to set us free from being preoccupied with our little “i” that was crucified with Christ. Instead, we can start to give thanks and praise to God for setting us free from the curse of separation, and for bringing us into a totally new realm of being.

That new realm of being is invisible at first, but the more we look into it, the more it becomes real and tangible in our experience.

The new realm of being is Christ Himself

Please look at your inheritance in Christ! It is awesome, and it is available for you here and now. It is waiting to be acknowledged and quickened and manifested in you and through you. It will never be forced upon you, because love never exerts force. Force is a power that the world uses, but the power of love is the opposite of force.

The power of love is humble, longsuffering, kind, and patient. Love beckons us, looks out for us, and never stops waiting for us. We should never doubt the invitation, and never fear that we have missed it. It is always there, waiting for us.

But the invitation is about relationship, and for any relationship to grow—and not remain stagnant—it needs to be nurtured. The way to develop relationship with the Author of love is to come to know Him through His Word. Jesus beckons us to Himself, urging us on—ever deeper into love: “Abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4).

Jesus could not have given us a more intimate invitation, could He?

[This is an excerpt from chapter 4 of the book God’s Gift of Tremendous Power. Very slightly edited and condensed.]

Ann Shakespeare

Welcome to the Ann Shakespeare blog. Ann, a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, BBC World Service and The Daily Journal, is currently involved in editing and writing on Christian themes. She also ministers in a local ecumenical centre which provides prayer and pastoral support.

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