Enlarging Our Loves In Christ
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
What does it mean to be Easter people? How do we grow more and more as people who bear witness to Jesus and His resurrection way in the world?
To be a “Christian” is to wear a label that inevitably comes with certain mental images attached. Perhaps the word conjures up a church sanctuary filled with dressy people. Maybe it brings to mind your own devotional or service practices. You might associate certain family traditions and values with the word. Or, the word “Christian” might even evoke certain cultural or political realities about those who carry the label.
Last week at the Kaleid blog, we entered a new series where we are seeing ourselves as Easter people through Paul’s lens. To do so, we are briefly laying down our common label, “Christian,” and picking up the Apostle Paul’s preferred way of talking about being an Easter person. Paul never uses the word “Christian.” Instead, he talks about being “in Christ” over 200 times in his letters.
The Big Invitation
Once you see those two words “in Christ” in Paul, you won’t be able to un-see them! There’s no way to do justice to all of the “in Christ” scriptures in a few short weeks on this blog. In addition to our brief Kaleid blog attempts to shine a light on this wonderful way of seeing ourselves, we invite you to dive into Paul’s letters in the New Testament over the coming weeks to ask, “What does it mean to be ‘in Christ’ and how does this reality reorder my love for God, others, and myself this day?”
In Christ in Ephesians 1
Last week we discovered the hiddenness and vulnerability of being in Christ in Colossians 3. This week we turn to Ephesians 1 to see what else Paul has to say about being “in Christ.”
Let’s approach the text with the above question in mind: “What does it mean to be ‘in Christ’ and how does this reality enlarge my love for God, others, and myself this day?”
In Christ, in Ephesians 1, we are…
Blessed with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven. (v. 3)
Chosen to be holy and blameless in God’s presence before the creation of the world. (v. 4)
Destined to be God’s adopted children because of God’s love. (v. 5)
Aware of God’s plan for the ultimate reconciliation of all things, heavenly and earthly. (v. 10)
Recipients of an inheritance from God. (v. 11)
Capable of hoping, hearing truth, and believing. (vv. 12-13)
Given the Holy Spirit as a down payment on our future inheritance. (v. 14)
As we read this list, we easily recognize the statements as true of Jesus. Jesus was blessed spiritually. Jesus was chosen before time. Jesus was loved as God’s child. Jesus was a knowing agent of the grand plan of reconciliation. Jesus inherited all that God has. Jesus was God’s capable human expression, navigating earthly reality in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Astoundingly, because we are in Christ, these things are true of us, too.
Give yourself time to re-read the list. Ask the Holy Spirit to give your heart a picture of your reality as one in Christ, today. Now, holding this picture in your heart, consider how your love for God, for others, and for yourself might be enlarged because of your in Christ reality.
You are in Christ. Does your love for God swell because you are adopted, chosen, blessed, and capable of being in relationship with your Creator?
You are in Christ. Is your love for others more spacious because you are secure in God, aware of and confident in redemption, and filled with the Spirit?
You are in Christ. Is there more space to love even yourself because you are blameless, welcomed into the wholeness of God’s family, and given a part to play?
Sisters in Christ, may we all love well today, even as we are deeply loved.
We are grateful for you,
The Kaleid Team
P.S. Here’s a bit of N.T. Wright on Ephesians 1 and being “in Him.”