Saturday, May 19, 2018
One of the most significant aspects of life in Christ is that that’s where we’re at—in Christ. (I know it’s bad grammar because the "at" isn’t necessary, but just go with it.) Ever since God put us in Christ through the new birth, that’s where we’re found at every moment—in Him.
It doesn’t look like it, I know. Come by my house and you’ll see me in jeans and a long sleeved shirt, drawn up to my desk and laptop. That’s what your eyes see. And if during our visit I told you to close your eyes so you could see more clearly, maybe you’d think I was nuts. But I’d be trying to help you to live according to what’s really real.
You and I are learning more and more to live by faith—in what God says is true of Himself, and in what He says is true of us. If we only look with the eyes in our head, we’ll frustrate our growth and twist our experience. It can’t be otherwise. We’ve got to see with the eyes of our heart, the ones Paul asked God to open for the Ephesians so they would know the great hope to which He had called them, the wealth of His incredible inheritance now in the saints, and so they would know His “incomparably great power” for them (Ephesians 1:18-21).
I think that because we rarely use the eyes of our heart, the ones that believe and see people the way they have become in Christ, we miss hope, we forsake our inheritance and poorly experience the power of God.
If you’re a Christian, then right now you’re in Christ. Yes, He is in you, and that’s fantastic to know and discover—God in you! (That’s what my new book, “Life According to Perfect” is all about.) But according to God, you’re also in Him. What does that mean? That’s what Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was about.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7-8).
Being in Christ means God has made us exactly as He wants us—that’s what redemption means. Think of it. Picture yourself in Christ. Can there be anything sinful in Christ? Can there be anything flawed in Christ? Can there be anything faulty in Christ? Can there be anything that needs to be removed in Christ? No, no, no, and no! Your change of location has changed everything—that’s the gospel.
This is how it is in Christ, and I contend that believing the gospel which says it is so will change your life. It will certainly improve your view on things.
If your wife is a Christian, then right now, “Where’s she at?”
If your husband has received Christ, then “Where’s he at?”
If God is right now in your children, then “Where they at?”
If you’ve got friends who are Christians, then right now, “Where they at?”
Do you see what happens to you when you see where they are? You feel better and invigorated because you’ve shifted your eyes and view of life to the unseen facts that stimulate true life—life by the Spirit. You’ve chosen His view, and you’re reaping from Him. The Bible says a lot about those who will live that way.
When you know you’re in Christ, your worries tend to dissipate, your hope increases, and your confidence in God and in yourself leap up. Everything changes when you know where you are.
So right now, “Where you at?”
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Got 2 minutes? If thoughts of personal disappointment have been bothering you, maybe keeping you awake at night, leaving you worn out and even more disappointed, have a look. (There are more than 150 free videos at ralphharris.org. You can subscribe there and not miss any.)
Friday, May 11, 2018
As the aircraft pitched slightly from left to right and back again, I was relieved to hear the captain’s voice over the loudspeakers. There were a few more horizontal adjustments, a wah-whump, whump, and we were rolling safely on the runway in Vancouver, British Columbia. At last.
I was there to assist men in their journey with God in the hope that, in addition to growing more confident in Christ, they would discover what it’s like to live by the Spirit. By Sunday afternoon, they had.
A particular passage became beautifully clear:
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,. . .” Romans 8:5,6 NAS
To demonstrate this passage, I asked a young man, Zach, to join me up front, and then asked the men at the retreat to tell me about Zach—as though I had never met him. “He’s fun!” “He’s smart!” “He’s a good friend!” “His wife needs prayer!” And on it went. Then I asked, “Now that I know what Zach is like, tell Zach who God says He is. Tell it directly to Zach. And don’t rush this; there’s no hurry.”
And then this: “Zach, you’re a holy man.” “Zach, you’re righteous.” “You’re blameless.” “You’re forgiven.” “You’ve got God living in you.” “All of heaven recognizes you as a son of God.” And that included us. We saw Zach.
No one moved. It was amazing. No, it was more than that. It was sacred. When I asked what the men were feeling, somewhat breathlessly they said, “I feel like I’m looking into heaven.” “I feel hope.” “I feel life.” “I feel great.” “I feel peace.” “I feel like I’m really seeing Zach.” “When we changed our minds from looking at the visible to looking at the invisible, everything changed from shallow and fleshly to deep and true.”
They felt God.
Romans 8:5-6 came alive in that moment as we turned our minds away from what was visible to what was invisible. We thought of Zach and addressed him according to what the Bible says God has made of him, and Zach was illuminated to us and to himself. And we felt it. We felt “life and peace,” the kind of life and peace produced by the Holy Spirit whenever we turn our minds toward Him.
“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8
It was tremendous and Zach was a little overwhelmed. He felt the inner conflict between the flesh and Spirit, but he, too, chose to sow to the Spirit, reaping what God has promised. “I feel holy. I feel clean.” Indeed, he was—indeed, he is.
Approaching or addressing someone as they have become in Christ causes us to change our minds. We go away from the mind of the flesh and begin thinking according to the mind of the Spirit. You can feel the change! This isn’t a game you play or a way of pretending your way through life. A worldly curtain is drawn back to reveal the true image behind—and that’s more than a bit dazzling. I don’t recommend that you immediately begin addressing all the Christians you know as Holy Hannah, Righteous Rudy, or Forgiven Frank, because that makes a methodical mess out of the holy and sacred. You might silently think of them as the holy, blameless and forgiven sons or daughters they have become, and then see what the Spirit gives you or where He leads you. You won’t have to be creative when God is at work. He’s pretty creative already.
An added benefit of setting our mind upon the Spirit in addressing a brother (as we did with Zach) is that we experienced a sort of mini revival. In looking at Zach, we found ourselves, too. Surprise! The Super Heroes of God. We reaped life, the Spirit invigorated us, and we were deeply encouraged by God. The men knew that they could do this at home with their families, at work, at church, by phone or email, even while driving on the freeway. With all that goes on around us, we’re always on approach. Take advantage of that.
Setting our minds upon the Spirit is our new normal way of living in this world. We’re not of it—we’re a heavenly colony on earth. But since we’re in it, we do well to see it as He sees it, and to approach it from there. We’ll be looking into heaven.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
If, on the other hand, that speaker recognizes them and is at all impressed by the perfect royalty they are, he is going to talk about it. They can be confident and expectant that what they hear will invigorate who they are—Spirit-born majesty. That’s the point of getting together! And when we meet in faith like that—about God and about each other—that’s how the world is helped.
“We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Colossians 1:28
Monday, April 23, 2018
Did you know that ‘Life According to Perfect’ is now available throughout the United Kingdom (Amazon.co.uk), all across Europe (Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es) and Canada (Amazon.ca), and today it’s available in Mexico (Amazon.com.mx), Australia (Amazon.com.au), Brazil (Amazon.com.br), India (Amazon.in) and Japan (Amazon.co.jp)? It is! If you’ve got people who would love the story of how Perfect God is with them, share this or give ‘em a shout-out. And yes, it continues to be a #1 best-selling New Release! Thank you.
For those in the US, click: https://tinyurl.com/yamoj77a
Thursday, April 19, 2018
(For more about Perfect, get my new book, ‘Life According to Perfect’ on Amazon! Click: https://tinyurl.com/yamoj77a)
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
My new book, Life According to Perfect, is now available on Amazon. I feel a little like the apostle Paul, in that I’m “being poured out” on this, and that I have “fought the good fight, I have finished the race” for this part of my ministry (2 Timothy 4:6-8). You must know that I am all-kinds of emotional as I offer it to you.
If you share in the joy of this story, would you write a brief recommendation for it on Amazon? That will help spread its message a lot, and that’s important. Would you share about the book in any way you can? I’ll do the best I can to get the word out, but you can really help.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
I have been through seasons where my Bible reading was waaay less than I wanted—which was a good want. I don’t read my Bible because I have to, but because I love it. I love what happens to me in the process. However, I found that there are other ways of getting the gospel I love, like talking out loud to God; thinking thoughts toward Him and offering clear pauses in which I listen for Him to respond; playing meaningful music loudly that captures my attention; saying something truly sarcastic and “anti-gospel”—for example, “God is not going to forgive me for that, because He’s mad at me!” That gets me going! That gets me re-thinking.
Any way by which to “sow to the Spirit” and reap His life in me—the life of Christ that He happily produces—is a good thing and a happy work of expectant faith. I’m revived, and I work again.
Thursday, April 05, 2018
This morning I felt like God drew me out of all the chaos and confusion of this world—like He personally Googled me. It felt like Google Earth, where the view on your monitor can take you from England to Colorado in about a second. Whoosh! Out of the teeming masses I was drawn to be alone with God, and immediately I felt my fit with Him. I knew I belonged.
I don’t know how He does that, but I’m delightfully glad He does.
I was newly reminded that in the midst of a ruined world filled with tragedy and turmoil, God is making for Himself a perfect bride—you and me. And I suppose that from His perspective (and that would be the right one), the church of the redeemed must look astonishing against the backdrop of madness and imperfection.
But I often get lost and caught up in the smallness of my view. That seems particularly easy right now when the usual noisy stuff of this world has been joined by all the political noisiness and nonsense. There is so much clamoring for my attention! So my need of God, who carries on with the sovereign plan for His glory, increases. When He Googles me, I can see what He sees, and I am stunned all over again.
When one day God Googles us for real, we will exchange perishable for imperishable, mortal for immortal, and we will be like Him. Raised in glory, when we cross over we will be like Him—and not a single angel will be surprised, having been looking at us for a long, long time already. (1 Corinthians 15:42-56; Ephesians 1:3-10)
My prayer: “Father, way to go! Glory to you! Google me again tomorrow?”
“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 24-25 NIV).
Sunday, April 01, 2018
As we were brought into Him at the cross (Romans 6:1-11), so we were in Him in His resurrection. His three days were our three days. When He was crucified, we were crucified. When He was buried, we were buried. When He was raised, we were raised. We're new. We’re secure. We’re in Him and He is in us.
“Made like Him, like Him we rise! Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies! Alleluia!”
He is Risen! And in Him, so are we!
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7
For always and forever, we will be the evidence of His stunning love and ability. Isn’t that fantastic?
If that's what we'll be throughout the ages, we might as well start getting used to it now—don't you think?
Friday, March 30, 2018
If we think of Jesus as going to the cross by Himself, we have a discounted Easter, as the retail sign implies. That’s no bargain. We don’t have everything, and we need to.
While enduring the awful human torment of carrying a shameful cross through the streets of Jerusalem and out to Calvary on the edge of the city, Jesus—God Himself—knew what was before Him. Through the pain, He was overjoyed!
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, italics mine)
Seemingly all alone in His tortured trek through town and the many people lining the streets, Jesus held a fantastic secret: He was taking them with Him. They thought they were onlookers to a tragedy; He knew they were participants, not just in the cause but also in the act.
An incredible, miraculous, retroactive and future fact of Easter is that Jesus’ faithfulness to the cross was the initial act of bringing to an end one creation—darkened, stumbling, sin frustrated mankind—and of making another—a glory-sharing, innocent and holy new race (See Ephesians 2:14-22). That was His joy, and now it’s ours!
On the cross and knowing what was coming in three days, Jesus reached for you in the crowd—the crowd in the past, the crowd right in front of Him, and the crowd in the future—and accomplished God’s timeless desire; union with His people. He didn’t simply hold you close, He brought you in. Jesus removed what hindered us and brought us into Himself, where there can be no distance, no transgression and no fault, making us new, safe and secure with Him, who loves us perfectly. And He did it in three days through two acts: the cross and the resurrection.
Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Easter is all about life to the full—Christ’s and yours. When Jesus rose and fairly strutted out of the tomb (as I picture it), He was full and full of joy! We were in Him, and He was joyously satisfied, just as He planned. Do you believe the good news of His cross and resurrection?
He is risen! And so are we. Happy Easter!
(See Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:6-7)