Day 20: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)
This verse comes from my reading of a devotional by Major Ian Thomas, who was the founder of Torchbearers International. This organization runs Bible schools all over the world and I attended one called Capernwray Harbour during my college years. The Major’s most famous book is called The Saving Life of Christ in which his basic premise is how to live a victorious Christian life here on this earth. I remember this book speaking to me during my Bible school years but it wasn’t until I read its companion devotional, called The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me, that its truth really began to sink in.
I started reading the devotional about six months after I also started reading a One Year Bible and journaling about what the verses meant to me. This was a big step for me because it was the first time in my Christian walk that I actually had consistent devotions – I won’t say they were daily devotions because it took me 3 years to finish my One Year Bible!
I got the One Year Bible for Easter and would dutifully read it for a few months (again not every day and the big key here was I gave myself grace if I missed a day instead of giving up all together as I had done before). But then I added in the journaling and that made a huge difference for me. After a few months of this I thought, “something feels different in my spiritual life,” but I didn’t really put two and two together. Then after six months or so it finally clicked and I realized that my intimacy with Christ had really deepened as a result of these consistent times spent digging into the Word of God.
For example, I looked forward to my times with God now instead of doing them out of duty as I had before. I could get lost in the Word and spend a couple of hours just reading the Bible and writing down my reflections. That certainly had never happened before! I started doing my service in the church out of a true desire to help and give out of my abundance instead of out of as sense of obligation as before. I began to have a passion for my future instead of just going through the daily motions of life. “What is going on?” I wondered.
About that time, I had started reading The Indwelling Life of Christ and this was what really helped it all begin to come together. Through the devotional, I realized that for so many years I had been trying to live the Christian life under my own strength. I had thought the more I did for God, the closer I would feel to Him and the better person I would become. Now instead, I was focusing first on my time spent with God and then out of the overflow of this would come a natural desire to serve Him. The reality of living a victorious Christian life was the opposite of what I had been doing for so many years!
This was a big revelation to me and a another pivotal moment in my Christian walk; to realize the fact that it is “Christ in me, the hope of glory” who lives His life in and through me and that I don’t need to do it all under my own strength. I’m not sure if others noticed a change in how I lived my life outwardly but I definitely noticed a significant change inwardly. To serve God and live my life as a natural outpouring from my intimacy with Christ was amazingly freeing. “I never want to go back to the way it was before,” I thought. And, Lord willing, I never will.
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)