Just this past week we received a donation and a gracious note from Penny Cole and her class at Cedar Springs Church in Knoxville, TN. She shared that she was looking forward this year to using several of our shorter studies. She has entitled the study, “Walk in Christ, Expecting His Return”. She went on to write about her anticipation of the study with such enthusiasm that I began to wish I could be a part of her class and sit under her teaching. I feel that what Penny wrote is worthy of passing on to you, so here is what she wrote:
“I know it seems like an odd study mixture of books of the Bible [both Old New Testament books], but my prayer is that we will end the year with a passion and sense the urgency to be salt and light in this culture, this world that is ripe for judgment. Our time is limited -- we don’t have time to be judgmental and critical. We as Christians must be living our lives in such a way that others see us, listen to us, and want to believe the gospel is true -- and that it is possible only as we are walking “in” Christ (not merely walking “with” Him which is more of a mental decision rather than an absolute union with Him as we will see in 1 John). I believe this study will be transformational and hopefully we will finish with an urgency to make a difference in the time that God has entrusted to us!”
As I read Penny’s note, my heart and mind were nodding in agreement with what she had written. I thought of my own life. Am I just walking “with” Christ instead of “in” Him? Am I content to give mental assent to my beliefs and leave it at that or do wake up every morning with a passionate desire and firm commitment to live my day “in” Him, following in His steps, fellowshipping with Him in the light of His holiness, loving those in my world the way He loved when He walked on this fallen earth? Do I live out His truth in my life or merely talk about it? Do I practice my faith all day every day or do I live for worldly things? As I thought about this, I saw that if I truly believe that Christ died for my sins and has given me new life, if I believe He is coming again for salvation, then I will want to live my faith loud and strong for all to see. I will want to share with others what Christ has done for me so they too may be beneficiaries of salvation rather than judgment.
So how are you living these days? Are you living “in” Christ or simply "with" Him, still clinging to your own world of self, pleasure, comfort, pride, and greed? Are you expecting His return? How does your life show that? How would others know it, not just by your words but by what they observe in your life every day -- your choices, your pastimes, your pleasures, your commitments? If your family, friends, and neighbors were asked, “What is (place your name here) most enthusiastic about,” what would their answer be? The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek “enthous” which means “possessed by a god”. What god are you possessed by?
I thank Penny for waking me up to the need to live my life, not just “with” Christ, but “in” Christ. She has encouraged me to see and consider what a huge difference that one little preposition makes. I pray that many others will think about and understand that too.
With love “in” Christ,
Pictured below is the Disciplers leaders' group from Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church. Penny is seated at far left.