Christ Jesus is in you

Not too long ago, someone taught me that there is a point, an end, to discipleship. That point is that the other person might fully follow Christ, that they would go on to do the same things that you have learned, and more. I am discipling someone because I want them to know Christ and live in him as much as I do, and even more.

Paul tells the Corinthians that they need to examine themselves to confirm that they are, in fact, in Christ. Confirm that they know him. Confirm that they are walking with him.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you —unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.

2 Corinthians 13:5-7

He is telling the Corinthians that they need to make sure that they are in the faith. There are many reasons for this, of course, but this isn’t what Paul is most concerned about at the moment. He wants to make sure that this church isn’t full of people who are there for the social connection, but are instead there in community to know and glorify Christ.

Paul wants them to make sure that they are truly in the faith. Do they believe what they have been taught? Do they practice what they have been taught? Actually believe and practice?

In the end, Paul says that it may turn out that they have failed. Maybe he and his apostolic band of brothers haven’t fully fulfilled all that they were supposed to do to help the Corinthians become who they were to become. But as we stand before God, that will be a conversation that God has with them, with Paul and his compadres. God will also, though, have a conversation with each of the Corinthians. Were they in Christ?

What is more, and this is the reason that I wanted to write this today, Paul says that, if they are in the faith, Christ is in them! What does that mean? It means that they don’t need to keep coming to Paul to get the answers. They don’t need to argue with him as to whether Christ is truly speaking through him. Why? Because they have Christ within them already! He is already there. They, the Corinthians, simply need to listen to what he is saying.

There are a couple of lessons here, I think. First, I think that it is important for those of us as leaders to continue to remember that the people that we are working with have also received the Holy Spirit. As believers, they have Christ within them as well. And Christ wants to speak to them and through them. And Jesus doesn’t need our help. He doesn’t need my help. He can do all of the talking and instructing and leading and guiding that he wants to do, even without me.

The second lesson is for each person, that we need to pay attention. If we are in Christ, we must follow him. We must do what he tells us to do. It isn’t the responsibility of the leader of our church to tell me what to do. Yes, they have authority, but the greatest authority is that of Christ. What he says needs to be done. And if he says it, and it isn’t happening in my life, I don’t need to wait for the leader to point it out, or lead me to do it. I need to listen to Christ. And the more that I do that, the more that I learn to hear his voice and do what he says. And that will produce an ever-increasing strength of faith and action as a result of Christ in me.

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