Too often, today, Christians settle for a simpler view of Jesus Christ—what they learned in Sunday school classes during childhood or the advent story at Christmas, or perhaps the joy of an Easter morning sunrise service. But our Lord’s role and purpose in creation and in us is far more expansive and complex than we might be thinking. And the place to discover that depth and complexity is revealed in the writings of Paul and his followers.
For example, this verse from Colossians says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: … all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (NIV Col. 1:15-17). As another translation words it, the Son of God “was there before” the universe was created and “all things continue because of him” (NCV 1:17).
Rather than seeing ourselves as physical beings scrambling to establish a relationship with a distant Father-Creator figure, this passage asserts that the individuality of His Son is a continuing presence in all of us. Living “in him,” it is Christ’s spirit that fills our consciousness with intention and individuality and subjectivity. What does such a realization do for us? It frees us. Selfish pursuits and physical frailty no longer define who we are or limit who we can be.
But the living Saviour isn’t going to do what we tell him to do or be where we tell him to be. And so, moment by moment, we must step back from our natural need to control and manage our life. This kind of letting go can be the hardest thing in the world to do, and yet, at the same time, the easiest thing to do. That’s because, surprising as it may seem, self-abandonment doesn’t diminish us—it enlarges us. As we surrender, Christ’s spirit grows and matures within our hearts. Aligning in this way with the Lord’s continuing purpose is the most marvelous blessing. The life we have “in him”—first, last, and always—makes us better at being who we are! (Living Strong, chapter 36, www.yieldingtochristianity.com)