If the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ inhabits believers, we would expect great and good things to be revealed in and through them, as happened in the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul.
“By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10).
We correctly anticipate the abundance of Christ to be manifested in Christians, which raises the question, do we expect such lavish bestowal of grace in our own lives? Many believers ruefully bow their heads upon such an inquiry, believing themselves to have too often failed the Lord, and to perceive themselves as simply not dedicated or disciplined enough to live a powerfully effectual life of godliness. Thus, they expect little, and become sad and self-fulfilling prophecies.
Misdirected expectation accompanies all failure to experience the abundance of the Lord Jesus. That is, we look at ourselves and our human foibles rather than “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). We forget, or either do not know that the Christian life is, by definition, the life of Christ revealed in us. He is the motivator, the enabler, and the executor of all godliness. We are the trusting vessel that looks with the expectancy of faith that God’s grace far surpasses our human weaknesses.
“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned by death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21).
Even in the natural realm, low expectation leads to low performance. This is especially true in our relationship with God. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament demands that we view ourselves as supercharged vehicles of the presence and power of God. Paul taught that “the power that worketh in us” is “exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Do we base our expectation on such truth? Or do we languish in hopelessness, or even a false and perverse humility that actually serves as an excuse for failure to consistently honor our Lord in how we live our lives? “I’m just too weak, and too prone to wander to live a godly life!” Yes, we are, we all are. But the Lord Jesus is not! Moreover, He lives in us to provide both the power and the hope of consistent faith and obedience. Thus, the Bible calls us to join the Psalmist in his affirmation, “My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).
We are not merely ourselves if we have trusted the Lord Jesus. We are ourselves as inhabited and energized by His Spirit –“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Our Heavenly Father sees us accordingly, as confirmed throughout the Book inspired by His Spirit. We must join Him in the view of His Son united to many sons and daughters, including ourselves. We will indeed glimmer in glory as we trust our perfectly faithful God to reveal the Lord Jesus not only as our Savior, but as our life…
“To live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21)