Christ Lives in Me
This was part of Paul's experience; and it is part of the experience of every true Christian. For God's mystery among the Gentiles, is Christ in us the hope of glory. Satan lived, ruled, and reigned in us once. But the strong man armed has been conquered and ejected. He worries—but he cannot devour us. He annoys—but he cannot destroy us. Jesus has entered, and taken possession. He is acknowledged as the lawful sovereign. He has put his laws into our hearts, and upon our minds has he written them. They are our rule. They justify or condemn our conduct. Conscience is influenced by them, appeals to them, and decides according to their requirements.
Christ lives in our hearts, they are his home, his palace, his temple. There he resides, reigns, and is worshiped. Except the heart worships him, we cannot justly say, that he lives in us. For he will not enter in any character but that of king, or for any purpose but to rule. Happy is the heart where Jesus reigns, where Jesus is worshiped. Reader, have you this happiness? Let us examine, does Christ dwell in me, does he live in me?
Yes, Jesus lives in my thoughts. I daily, hourly, think of him. Whatever subject I forget, I cannot forget Jesus. His name is engraved on my memory. I think of him with pleasure and satisfaction. My sweetest thoughts are of Jesus. I love to think of him. I seldom weary of thinking of him. I think of his person—and adore him; of his blood—and trust in it; of his righteousness—and desire to be found in it; of his name—and plead it; of his mercy—and publish it; of his intercession—and rejoice in it; and of his second advent—and long for it.
I enjoy thinking of Jesus as God, as man, as God man; as on earth, and as in heaven; of what he did, and what he said; of what he suffered, and what he procured; his laboring as a servant, and ruling as a sovereign; of his first coming to atone for sin, and his second coming to glorify his people. No thoughts please me—like thoughts of Jesus. A low thought of Christ distresses me; but high and honorable thoughts of him delight me. May I think of Jesus, while I can think at all. May my last thoughts in this world, as my soul hovers over the brink of eternity, be sweet and glorious thoughts of Christ.
Jesus lives in my desires. If I desire any person, it is Jesus. If I desire any knowledge, it is the knowledge of Jesus. If I desire any pleasure, it is to enjoy Jesus. If I desire any wealth, it is to possess the unsearchable riches of Christ. Yes, I cannot be deceived here; my soul desires Jesus—to have him for my Savior—to possess him for my portion—to enjoy him as my pleasure—to walk with him as my friend—to trust him as my Lord—to worship him as my God—to praise him as my Redeemer—to exalt him as my boast and glory—to claim and live upon him as my all in all.
In my darkest nights, I desire to see Jesus. In my brightest day, I desire to realize the presence of Jesus. On the bed of pain, my soul cries out for Jesus. In health and prosperity, there is still the craving of the soul for Jesus. I do desire to know him, and the power of his resurrection. I do desire to be one with him, and enjoy his divine communications. Jesus is now the first, the last, the grand object of my desire. O, that when heart and flesh is failing, I may feel as Paul felt, and say as Paul said, "I have a desire to depart, and be with Christ, which is far better!"
Jesus lives in my affections. I do love him, though I do not love him as I ought, or as I wish. Nothing has troubled me more than the fear that I did not love him, or that my love was not spiritual love—that I had made a mistake in this matter. Yet, surely, if I love anyone—I love Jesus.
I love his people, just in proportion as they appear to me to be like him. I love his Word, especially when his Spirit shines on the page, and reveals his glories. I love his ordinances, particularly when I see Jesus to he the sum and substance of them. I love that sermon most—which most highly exalts Jesus. I love that hymn most—which is fullest of Jesus. I love that prayer most—which begins, proceeds, and ends with Jesus. I enjoy Christian converse, if it is about the person, perfection, work, or excellencies of Jesus.
I love his dear, dear name. I never weary of it. To me there is none like it. I love his work though I am but a poor bungling hand at it. I love to think of his appearing; and the hope of seeing him, being with him, and being like him—is exquisitely sweet and pleasant to my soul. True, I sometimes doubt whether I do really love him—but then I am grieved, I wish I did, and I feel as if I would give a world to have a heart glowing with love to him. Could this be the case, if Jesus did not live in me? If he did not live in my affections? No, no, never! Jesus does live in me, or I would never feel toward him, his people, his word, his ways, and his glorious appearing as I do.
Jesus lives in my aims and pursuits. I do aim at his glory. I do endeavor to pursue after those things which please him. I long to be holy, because Jesus loves holiness, and commands his people to be holy. I wish to be useful to his church, and in the world, because it will honor him. The thought of pleasing Jesus—is most pleasant to me. My aim is to be like him, to exalt him, to spread abroad the knowledge of his work, and to render his praise glorious.
The object I pursue, is that for which he lived and died. In my best and most satisfactory moments, I wish only to purpose, plan, or pursue what will bring glory and honor to his most blessed name. And that work appears to me to be comparatively insignificant, which does not tend to exalt him, to bring sinners to him, or to render his saints more like him.
Could this be the case if Jesus did not live in me? If he did not live in my aims and pursuits? No, never. True, I feel, I know, that I often miss the mark. I often feel another mind working in me. There is flesh as well as spirit in my nature. There is the old man as well as the new man in my bosom. I feel at times a deadly conflict, and imperfection is stamped on my best. Still the bent of my mind is to honor Jesus, the desire of my soul is to him. I must love him, or I would not think of him as I do; I would not grieve after his presence as I do; I would not sigh, groan, and cry, to possess him as my own.
Nothing is so dreadful, as separation from Jesus. Nothing cuts so deeply, as the fear lest I should be deceived, or mistaken, or find out at last that he is not mine. But, I am not deceived, I shall not be separated from him; for Christ dwells in me. Nor will you, reader, if your heart responds to what I have written, and your life proves that your heart is sincere. Christ must dwell in us here on earth—if ever we are to dwell with Christ in heaven. Christ in the head won't do; it must be Christ in the heart. Christ on the tongue won't do; it must be Christ dwelling in me. Holy Spirit! examine the reader's heart, ransack his soul before his eyes, and allow him to see whether Christ dwells in him or not—for your mercy's sake.