CHRIST IN US
One aspect of this heavenly vision seen by Paul is that Christ has to be wrought into our being. Galatians 4:19 says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” It became the apostle’s deep longing that the believers might have Christ take shape in them.
The apostle prayed in Ephesians 3:17 “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.” Have you ever thought that Christ needs you to provide a home for him? He wants to settle down in your heart. You may think heaven is a wonderful place to be, but Christ does not appreciate being there. He is homeless without you. He longs to make His home in your heart. The theologians may think such a thought is too subjective, that your heart is too small to contain the great Christ, and that He is far off in the third heaven. Nevertheless, Paul prayed that Christ may make His home in your heart. This is the intimate relationship that should exist between Christ and you.
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Phil. 1:20). To be magnified is to be expressed in an enlarged way. It was the longing and expectation of Paul that Christ be so expressed in him.
For Him to be magnified in you is for Him to be shown without limitation. Your love or your humility is superficial and of short duration. According to Ephesians 3:18-19, Christ is the universal breadth, length, height, and depth. He is the dimension of the whole universe. There is no limit to His love. Your family can quickly exhaust all your virtues. Let this One with His unsearchable, inexhaustible riches make His home in your heart. He is magnified by His riches being made known to all.
“TO LIVE IS CHRIST”
In Colossians 2:6-7 Paul tells us to walk in Christ, rooted and built up in Him. He becomes the country in which we walk, the sphere in which we live, the soil in which we are rooted, and the foundation on which we are built up.
The heavenly vision is that this Christ must be wrought into us. When Paul said, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19), he implied that he no longer had any regard for tradition or religious teachings. His only concern was the living, present Christ. That is why he could later say, “To me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).
REPENTING OF GOOD BEHAVIOR
Once you see this, you will repent of many good things. Suppose, for example, you talk to a brother in a harsh way. Later, when you go to the Lord, you confess, “Lord, I’m sorry I was so mean to my brother. Forgive me. From now on, help me to treat all the brothers right. Help me not to be so harsh.” Do you think that is the right way to pray? If you do, you have not seen the heavenly vision that Christ must live. It is not a matter of your being nice to others, but of Christ being your life. Such a prayer itself needs to be repented of.
We want to live a good Christian life—studying the Bible, preaching the gospel, honoring our parents, being a good neighbor, not losing our temper, and being kind to everyone. I beg you, discard all these concepts! The vision we need to see is that Christ must be our life.
Have you ever repented of your good behavior? of your love? of your kindness? You must have, if you have seen the vision. God does not want you to be full of love, but to be full of Christ. In our early Christian experience, our repentance is for bad things, but later we shall find that our repentance is mostly for good things. “Lord, forgive me for my kindness. Forgive me for all my virtues, void of Christ.” A Christian who is full of humility without Christ is a rebel. He is rebelling against the heavenly vision that Christ must be everything to him. Your thinking, your emotion, your intention, your motive, your quickness or your slowness—all these must be Christ.
FULFILLING THE VISION
How far-reaching was the vision Paul was granted in answer to his question, “Who art Thou, Lord?” The revelation that came to him filled his writings; through them, under the heavenly enlightening, the same vision can be ours. This Jesus of Nazareth embodies the fullness of the Father. The church, the embodiment of the Son, takes in His riches and thus becomes His fullness. Christ Himself must be wrought into us and become our life.
We obey this vision by taking Him as our life, not allowing ourselves to be distracted by doctrines nor striving after good behavior. All day long, throughout all our activities, we must maintain contact with this Christ. As we constantly talk to Him in prayer (1 Thes. 5:17), we shall be spontaneously taking Him as our person and thus living according to the heavenly vision.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 31, by Witness Lee)