In Me, In You

John 17: 22 – 23

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

There are so many pieces in this segment of Jesus’ prayer. He was preparing to go to the cross, his mission coming to an end. I am immediately struck that he said to God that the glory God gave to him, he has given to us. Did you ever consider that? If we have been given the glory of God, how does it show? How do we even perceive it for ourselves?

Jesus went on to say that the purpose was for us to become one – one with him and the Father and one with each other. It can be difficult for us to intellectually embrace what it means to be one with the Father and Jesus. Ivey Ministries slogan is, “Intertwined with Jesus,” but can we truly be intertwined with him while we live on earth? If we cannot, then what did Jesus mean in this passage? The end game for this is that the world will see that God loves us even as He loves Jesus and that He sent Jesus. So, this intertwining really is essential because it is through our life in and with Jesus that the world gets to see him.

Life integrated with him is not the same as us acting like him. That is a good start but Jesus is talking about something much more intimate. He means a shared life. Have you ever been so close to someone that your lives express elements of the other? Was it hard, sometimes, to see where your life ended and theirs began? Although we need healthy boundaries in our relationships, there are also those relationships which grow so close that they are intertwined. Jesus is offering that and more. Our lives can be hidden in him and he can live in us and give expression to our lives from within. Imagine for a moment, walking along holding someone’s hand. Do your hands swing a bit? Who causes that motion? Is it you, the other person or perhaps the union of the two of you? Jesus’ joining his life with ours is something like that only much more profound. He doesn’t take over and move our hands and feet against our will or even of his own will. He also isn’t stagnate like a lead weight we carry around in our hands. His life with us is an intertwining, like your fingers interlaced with his so that who you are and who he is evidences as an even greater self. The joining of his spirit and yours doesn’t take away who you are it just joins two beautiful items together like putting a diamond in a beautiful gold setting. Together the two are even more lovely to behold and more functional.

Now, how do we get there? How do we experience this integrated life with Jesus? That is the key question and we will look at that more closely tomorrow.

Inextricably Intertwined

John 15: 5

I am the vine, you are the branches.

In yesterday’s Word of the Day I used the words interwoven and intertwined. I want to share with you, today, the basis for those words and why they are relevant to any discussion of Christians and Christian life.

Jesus describes us as branches of himself. That is a really powerful statement if you think about it. In fact, I think you could hang out in John 15 for quite a while gleaning the depth of meaning in it. Today’s verse is also part of the inspiration for the logo for Ivey Ministries. Being a Christian means being a part of Jesus and he being an integral part of you. I imagine an Ivy vine twining itself around a tree. Have you ever attempted to pull the Ivy from the tree? I am sure you found that the Ivy had intertwined itself with the tree. It is not readily removed from the tree. I like to see how the Ivy interlaces itself among the branches of the tree, its leaves comingling with the leaves of the tree. Inevitably the tree and the Ivy become so intertwined that it is hard to tell one from the other. The longer the Ivy abides with the tree, the harder it becomes to extricate it from the tree. There is another verse which eludes to this type of interconnectedness with the Lord. It is Isaiah 40: 31. It is the verse which is on the home page of the Ivey Ministries website. The God’s Word translation reads this way, “The strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed.” I like that translation. Another says, “Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength” (Christian Standard Bible). The NIV says that the strength of the Lord is for those who “hope” in the Lord. The reason you see all these variations in the verse is because the word and the idea contained herein is complex and rich in meaning. At its base, one of the keywords in the definition is “intertwined.” This is at the heart of our ministry. I would, therefore, communicate Isaiah 40: 31 this way, “Those who are intertwined with the Lord will renew their strength.”

I would like to help you become so integrated, so intertwined with the Lord that it is difficult to discern where one of you begins and the other ends. In fact, the amalgamation of you and Jesus can be so complete that there is no end to either of you but rather where one of you exists, there, also is the other. Everywhere you go, there is Jesus. Every word you say, Jesus speaks. Wouldn’t that be great? Every thought he has, you hear. Every desire of your heart or his, is shared completely between you. His life and light flow through your veins and strengthens every cell of your body and illuminates your mind. You will understand the deep things of God and see beyond the constraints of humanity. There is an entire universe for you and Jesus to share and explore together with no bonds to restrain you. When you hear me talking about intertwining, this is what I am thinking of. This is the vision and the goal.

Abiding Life

Joel 2:28

And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.

This pouring out is called The Pentecost. The record of this wonderful event is in the second chapter of Acts. God poured out His Spirit for all people. Jesus said of the Spirit, “That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14: 17). This is the purpose of the Pentecost, that divinity would come and make a home with humanity. This abiding presence is not limited to the Spirit of God though. It extends to the Father and the Son. In  John 14: 23 Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all want to make a home with us.

Jesus talked a good bit about “abiding”. His ministry, sacrifice and victory have made it possible for us to be united with the Father, Son and Spirit as never before in history. We are now to become one with the divine trinity. Our DNA is being replicated in the image of Jesus (Romans 8: 29). For those who will submit themselves to Jesus’ words and teaching Jesus moves in and takes up residence. We are becoming enmeshed, intertwined with the Father, Son and Spirit so that there is now no separation between us and the divine. We are becoming so integrated that nothing can tear us apart. “I am convinced,” Paul said, “that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8: 38 God’s Word Translation). And since God is love that means that nothing can separate us from Him. 

This abiding in and with the triune presence of God is the key to our Christian testimony, outreach and life. Abiding in Him means that we shuck off the old self and adorn our new selves with the life of Christ which has now taken up residence within us. No longer do we have to will ourselves to act like a Christian should, no longer do we have to contemplate what Jesus would do in our situation. Now we let the life of Christ which is within us flow out of us and into the world. We put on Jesus and let his life, light and love reach out to other people. 

If you want to know if you are abiding in Him and He in you check your love walk. To the degree that you are others centered, that is the degree to which you are allowing Jesus to express himself. Put on Christ and let him abide forever with you.