(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia)
What is it like to carry the life and light of Christ within us? I think about my pregnancy, the nine months of carrying a growing life within me, treasuring the kicks and changes along the way. There were times of discomfort, but they pale in comparison to the greater, and joy-filled purpose of what lay ahead – the birth of life.
Romans says this:
“For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Romans chapter 8, verses 22-23)
There is a life we can all carry within us. It is one that grows towards maturity in Christ, a preparation for eternity as sons and daughters of the living God, as co-heirs with His Son. It is a life that fully satisfies, and endures into eternity.
. . .
Life that transforms
People talk about all sort of changes that happen in pregnancy. There are physical and emotional changes, changes in priorities, home renovations, dietary modifications and in all of this, a change in the way a developing mother lives her life.
Similarly, carrying the life of Christ within us causes transformation. It transforms our speech, our appearance, our mindset, and our priorities. It causes us to re-evaluate what is in our heart, to put off the old man and put on the new character and purpose we find in Him.
“… that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians chapter 4, verses 22-24)
Is the transforming power of Christ evident in the testimony of our lives?
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Life that grows
Not only does life transform, but it also grows. A growing pregnant belly cannot be hidden for too long, and will inevitably declare the growing life within. There are challenges that mark that growth; morning sickness, swollen legs, aches and waddling gait for example. Yet, with each challenge, there is a perseverance and a hope that grows, and this also is part of carrying life.
When we carry the life of Christ within us, we find that it is always growing. There are challenges, trials, times when we need to persevere through something difficult or uncomfortable. Yet, as we continue to hope in God through these times, we develop in character and grow closer to God. We become more able to trust and submit to His ways. We learn what his life looks like, and we become more like Him.
“… knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James chapter 1, verses 3-4)
Are we growing daily in understanding and living out the life God has given us through His grace?
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Life that leads to birth
No-one remains pregnant forever. Eventually, there must be a birth, a delivery of what has been growing inside. What is inside our hearts? When the day comes that we stand before the King of Kings, what will He find birthed by us?
The Bible is clear on the consequences of sin, and the consequences of faith. The book of James holds one example of what sin and life give birth to.
“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, beings forth death.” (James chapter 1, verse 15)
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James chapter 1, verse 12)
Each one of us has free will to decide how we will live our lives. We have a choice to follow our own desires, to be influenced by the world’s projection of worth, or to submit ourselves to the good grace and will of our Father in Heaven. Whatever our choice is on this earth, it will have repercussions when Christ returns and all the world stands before His judgment throne.
Will we choose to be led by the life and light of our good Heavenly Father who loves us?