All in Christ

Therefore let no one boast in men.  For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present of things to come—all are yours.  And you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” (I Corinthians 3:21-23)

When we sin to get something or sin if we do not get it, this is a clear indication that we are looking to a false idol — something that we think will bring us happiness.  This is a definition that struck me as an effective diagnostic tool to evaluate our actions.  It helps to clarify that “sin” includes attitudes like envy, anger, frustration, bitterness, lack of joy and thankfulness, which are all founded on belief.   

When confronted with painful and seemingly hopeless circumstances cradled in the emotions of fear, helplessness, and despair, the promises of God seem pat, distant, or even a cruel form of mockery. While we know that it is blasphemous to say it, we are tempted to connect our suffering with the conclusion that God is distant, unfair, or mean-spirited.  

At just this point, God reminds us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the confidence in things unseen (Hebrews 11). In the same chapter, we are reminded that the faith that pleases God is connected to our view of His goodness (vs. 6). We have to choose between what God has said about Himself and the poignancy of our feelings. To choose our feelings is to choose despair. Choosing God brings hope, but not without perseverance. The ruts of our feelings and experience run deep. We need the daily if not moment by moment reassurance of the truth of this passage in 1 Corinthians.   

If we have ALL in Christ, we will have no lack and therefore no need to pine for what we do not have or to harbor disappointment for not receiving the same.  Let us encourage one another daily so that we may be strengthened in our perseverance and rest in the source of all hope. 



Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5

Behold, look, see, pay attention! The word “behold” is used 36 times in the book of Matthew and 25 times in Revelation (NKJV), mostly to highlight a heavenly intervention or wondrous work of Jesus.

Behold is a command, but more than a command, it points us to something worth paying attention to. God became flesh and dwelt among us! In the same way that some spectacular bit of scenery or sunset makes us take in a breath of wonder, this should too. The God of the universe condescended to connect with His creation in flesh and blood for our sake forever. This is the message of love actuated for all eternity for His glory and our benefit, and through His incarnation, death burial and resurrection, He has made all things new!

When the busyness or silliness of the holidays tempts you to forget why all the fuss, consider, look, behold and wonder!

Connected Through Christ

“But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand.”  (Isaiah 32:8)

“He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.” (Proverbs 19:26)

Discouragement is a real temptation when one of our children disobeys or does something that is plainly stupid.  Training a child in the way he should go is not a point function, so we forgive, pick up the pieces, exhort, and move on in hope.  Similarly when we are connected through Christ’s body to new believers with broken pasts, we will be confronted with discouragement when they fall back into patterns of sinful behavior.

Our expectations grow with the age of our children.  Those who come to the cross later in life often carry with them spiritual immaturity entangled with deeply entrenched habits.  Shocked by this outward versus inward incongruity, we are often disappointed, quick to judge, and apt to apply guilt and shame as bludgeons to correct their besetting sin.

Our God is shrewd in His overwhelming generosity — something this passage in Isaiah calls us to emulate.  The foundation of God’s generosity is connected to us, as we are Christ’s flesh and bones. (Ephesians 5:30).  We are God’s children (1 John 3:1), we are brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11).

On this foundation of identity, the Father of Lights calls us to grow up in Christ, to put off childish behavior, and to renew our minds on His definition of truth and His unswerving promises.  This does not ignore sin.  Rather, it puts it in the context of relationship where discipline can be swift and restored fellowship complete.  May God grant us hearts unified in generosity such that we are constantly devising ways to pour love out to our brothers and sisters in need.