How Can We Experience Christ Living in Us?

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In a previous post, we saw that when the apostle Paul wrote, “Jesus Christ is in you” in 2 Corinthians 13:5, he wasn’t speaking metaphorically, but literally. It’s a wonderful fact that when we repented and believed in Him, Christ actually came into us. 

Specifically, Christ came to dwell in our human spirit, our deepest part. The fact that Christ is in our spirit isn’t just something for us to know objectively; it’s something we can experience and enjoy all the time. 

So in this post, we’ll discuss how we can experience Christ living in us in a practical way. We’ll read some verses and notes in the New Testament Recovery Version to help us.

A frustrating cycle

After we’re saved, most of us have certain ideas about how we should live the Christian life. We expend a great deal of effort to live up to certain standards. But as hard as we try, we usually fail. 

Let’s use losing our temper as an example. We all have this problem, to one degree or another. We know it isn’t a good thing, so we struggle against it, trying again and again to suppress our temper as it rises in us. But when something irritates us enough, we blow up. 

After a while, we calm down, and, feeling ashamed and convicted, we confess to the Lord and ask Him to forgive us. We experience His forgiveness and cleansing, and our fellowship with Him is restored. Maybe we then pray something like this: “Lord, please help me not lose my temper again. Please give me more patience.” 

Yet the next day, or maybe even the next hour, we find ourselves reacting impatiently to another situation, and our temper flares up again. Even though we had prayed earnestly for patience, we discover we have no more patience than before.

So we find ourselves in a frustrating cycle, and we wonder why the Lord isn’t answering our prayers. What’s wrong? 

The problem is this: the Lord doesn’t want to help us control our temper. And He doesn’t want to give us patience. Actually, the Lord Jesus, who now lives in us, wants to be our patience.

Our union with Christ

It’s not a simple matter for Jesus Christ to be able to enter into us and live in us.

On His side, Christ had to take some tremendous steps for this to happen: He became a man, died on the cross, and was resurrected. First Corinthians 15:45 says:

“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul’; the last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving Spirit.”

Before His death and resurrection, Christ could only be with people. He couldn’t be in them. But in resurrection, He became a life-giving Spirit, able to enter into all who believe in Him.

And on our side, we needed to repent and believe in Him. The moment we did, Christ as the life-giving Spirit entered into our deepest part, our spirit.

Not only so, 1 Corinthians 6:17 even tells us: 

“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”

Now the Spirit and our human spirit are one. This is a marvelous fact!

And that’s not all. Colossians 3:4 says:

“When Christ our life is manifested.”

The Christ who came as the Spirit to live in our spirit is now our life. Note 1 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version helps us understand the meaning of this verse:

“That Christ is our life is a strong indication that we are to take Him as life and live by Him, that we are to live Him in our daily life in order to experience the universally extensive Christ revealed in this book [Colossians], so that all He is and has attained and obtained will not remain objective but will become our subjective experience.”

Christ didn’t go through so much to live in us just so He could help us live a good, ethical life. He doesn’t want us to merely ask Him for things like patience and love when we need them.

Instead, the Christian life is a life in which Christ lives and does everything in us, with us, and through us. He wants us to take Him as our life and live by Him in all our circumstances.

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How can we experience Christ living in us?

If we see that Christ lives in us, that we’re one spirit with Him, and that He’s even our life, we’ll realize He’s present with us in every situation and ready to be applied at any time. He wants to live in and with us in every instance. So how can we experience this?

Let’s return to the example of losing our temper. Let’s say something vexing happens again, and we feel our temper rising. We would usually, and unsuccessfully, try to suppress our anger. 

But if we instead turn to Christ in our spirit right then and there, we’ll experience Christ, the uniquely patient One. He endured all kinds of ill-treatment and vexing situations throughout His life on earth. And He wants us to enjoy and experience Him being our patience and endurance. Then instead of expressing ourselves as we fight to control our temper, we express Christ as our patience.

It’s not a matter of mere outward imitation of what we think He would do. He wants us to live by Him in every situation. If we need patience, we can experience Christ being our patience. If we need hope, we can experience Christ as our hope.

A practical way to experience Christ in our spirit

One of the best ways to instantly turn to and experience Christ in our spirit is to call upon His name. By calling on the Lord Jesus, we contact Him as the Spirit dwelling in our spirit.

Depending on the circumstances, we may call, “Oh, Lord Jesus,” softly under our breath. Or if we’re alone, we can cry out to Him loudly. We may be very upset when we start calling, but as we contact Him, we experience Him quieting our being and becoming our patience.

As we call, we experience what is written in Romans 10:12: 

“For the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him.” 

The Lord is rich to us in patience, in calmness, in long-suffering, in endurance—in whatever we need to face any circumstance. Calling upon Him is a simple way to contact Him in our spirit and enjoy all that He is to us.

By calling on the Lord and enjoying His riches, we also experience Romans 10:13:

“For ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Saved in this verse refers not only to our initial salvation; it also refers to being saved from negative things in our lives after we’ve received the Lord. We all have to admit that every day we need to be saved from many things, including losing our temper.

Note 2 on this verse in the Recovery Version says:

“To be saved here means to be brought into the enjoyment of the riches of the Lord. The Lord is rich to both Jews and Greeks. All who call on the Lord’s name enjoy this rich Lord; as a result, they are filled with Him and express Him.”

On one hand, by calling on the Lord we’re saved from negative things; on the other, we’re brought into the enjoyment of the riches of Christ. And as we enjoy these riches, we’re filled with Him and express Him in our daily lives.

So instead of asking for a thing, such as patience, we experience a wonderful Person, the living Christ in us, as the real solution to our problems. 

Experiencing Christ daily

It helps to begin our day by spending time to contact Christ in our spirit. During this time, we can confess our sins to Him, fellowship with Him about anything, and pray with His Word. The more regularly we do this, the more we’ll experience Christ living in us and the more we’ll enjoy Him.

Then throughout the day, we can continue to call upon the name of the Lord to experience Him in all the situations of our daily life, turning to Him in our spirit to be one with Him. Then we’ll express the Christ who is our life automatically and spontaneously. Praise the Lord, Christ lives in us!

If you live in the US, you can order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version here to read all the notes on the verses mentioned in this post.