Week Six: Mutual Indwelling

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How I recognized mutual indwelling —

At some points in my life when I didn’t realize I’d turned a bit from God, meaningful coincidences appeared that helped me become aware and turn my life back toward God. One time in particular I experienced this mutual indwelling — Christ in me, helping me see, so I could turn back and live in Christ.

Back in August when we started this devotional series, I shared in the first devotion my story of my vision being restored and healed 38 years ago.  In that season, God used the “opening of my eyes” to help me “see” the wonder, majesty, and personal nature of the gifts of God in my life! The catastrophe of losing my vision enabled me to see God in so many more ways over my lifetime, and I think a lot of that had to do with the habit I developed of intentionally starting each day with God. It was in those quiet mornings with God that my trust in Him grew. I grew spiritually, and I learned what it meant to live in Him…

This past year I began to get distracted and rather busy first thing in the morning. In my busyness I lost my practice of meeting with God each morning. Low and behold, once again, I began to have physical vision problems. These were of a different nature: double vision, dry and itchy eyes. I tried all kinds of eye drops, gels, and procedures with no change. That is... until my doctor recommended that as soon as I woke up in the morning, I heat a washrag with water, as hot as I could stand it, and sit with it over my eyes for three minutes, then add the moisturizing drops. The natural oils in my eyes melted, absorbed and allowed the moisturizing drops to be more easily accepted and assimilated. I could see better once again!

Guess what else this procedure does — it sits me down in my loveseat where I had devoted my morning time to God for all those years and gives me three minutes to rethink and refocus my priorities. I am once again spending my first moments of the day with God. 

Intentionally giving God this time, living and breathing in Him, knowing God gives me all I am and encourages me, deepens my walk and grows me in love, compassion, faithfulness and action — it’s made all the difference! Living in God, God in me. Mutual Indwelling.

Now my eyes remind me that without God, I cannot “see.” Without God I become parched, unable to use the very oils, organs and gifts that are a part of me, who I am, because they are all dried up and need to be melted and moistened by time with God Himself. Every morning.

Christ Midkiff

Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.


Day One: 

DAILY — PRAYING SCRIPTURE:

Once upon a time when I was in high school, someone left a flower with my name on it on my friend’s car. Then they started leaving some notes, never signing them. Of course, my curiosity peaked! Every guy I saw was a possible candidate. I became much more aware of the people around me. I was dying to know who my secret admirer was! I guess God put a natural longing inside us, not only to be thankful, but to yearn for and know who our benefactors are. Then God gave us everything, every single thing we have, even our very breath!

Colossians 2:6-7 — Gracious God, thank You for revealing Christ so that I can see and accept Him as my Lord and Savior. I received Christ, now help me live Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith and overflowing with thankfulness! Amen.

Ask yourself — Have you ever received an anonymous gift? What was that like? Who are your benefactors? Who are you a benefactor to? Can you think of a time when you were consciously aware of those around you in positive anticipation of the possibility of goodness in them? What does it mean to live Christ?

Prayer:  Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.


Day Two:  

Recently I was asked, “If you hadn’t grown up in a Christian home, what makes you think you’d be Christian?” Part of my answer was that Jesus LIVED what He taught, but the other part was harder to express…I said something like when God comes to me, God comes to me through Jesus. Now that I’m writing about “Mutual Indwelling,” what I said makes a lot more sense to me.… I know God because He is in me. I know God uses every part of me to help me become aware of His mighty love for me and for all people. I could never understand this if I wasn’t in God and God wasn’t in me.

Colossians 1:25-27— Dear God, thank You for all those that came before me and struggled so that I might hear the Good News! Thank You for all the disciples and particularly today for Paul, that he became Your servant and presented your truth in all its fullness - the mystery that You chose to make known, not just to one people of a certain background or religious standing, but to everyone, Gentiles and all.  The mystery that had been kept hidden for ages and generations is now disclosed. This mystery in a nutshell is that Christ is in me, the hope of glory! Amen.

Ask yourself — Who came before you and struggled so that you might hear the Good News? How does God usually come to you? When do you feel closest to God? When do you feel the farthest? When was the last time you felt close to God?  He is right there inside and alongside you. What does the phrase “Christ is in me, the hope of glory!” mean to you? How do you bear witness to Christ in your life?

Prayer: Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.


Day Three:

Each Good Friday, New Covenant offers a beautiful version of the Stations of the Cross. In the last of seven exercises, the Wesleyan Covenant is presented. Ponder the Wesleyan Covenant now:

I am no longer my own, but Yours.

Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You,

exalted for You or brought low for You.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

You are mine, and I am Yours. So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven. Amen. 

Galatians 2:20 — Dear God, my old self was not able to overcome the law to attain righteousness. I had to die to the law so that I might live for You!  Thank You that the old me has been crucified and no longer lives, but You live in me. The life I now live in my body, I live by faith in You! Thank You for loving me and giving Yourself for me! Amen.

Ask yourself — How can the Wesleyan Covenant become my earnest prayer?

Prayer: Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.


Day Four: 

I have a new granddaughter, so I’ve been looking over my favorite parenting books. They all say that a child’s energy will follow what is given attention. In other words, if you focus your energy on the good things your child does, they’ll do that. Give them attention for behaving poorly, and they will focus their energy on behaving poorly. Then I noticed how Scripture seems to follow that same logic. For example, how much attention does the Bible give to those who didn’t believe the prophets, or even Jesus? It doesn’t go on and on about who they were and how wrong their actions were. The Bible focuses its attention on the way TO LIVE and TO LOVE. Even as Jesus is dying on the cross, He says, “Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do.”

Ephesians 4:11-13 — Thank You, God, for handing out gifts above and below, for filling heaven with Your gifts, for filling earth with Your gifts. You hand out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train me, a Christ follower, so I might be skilled in servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until all of us are moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in unity in the faith and in the knowledge of your Son, becoming fully mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ! Thank You, God, for abiding in me and in all my brothers and sisters in Christ that we may all dwell mutually in You, and You in us! Amen.

Ask yourself — What gifts has God instilled in you? In what ways do you see your community of believers moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in unity of faith and knowledge of Your Son? How do you contribute? How might you?

Prayer: Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.


Day Five: 

In Jay’s recent sermon about power in the person of Jesus, the story of a blind man, whose vision was healed, captured this healed man’s testimony as if he was bearing witness in a courthouse before a judge…sticking to the facts of what happened. But the Pharisees didn’t like this man’s “version” of the story, so they searched for a version they did like. It’s funny to me how often this kind of thing happens in life. Facts are given, stories told, and what means something to one person means something very different to another. To our benefit, thankfully, the Holy Spirit is in the practice of using our witness specifically and directly in others’ lives. And vice versa. It’s a mutual dwelling in Christ that somehow unites and grows us all!

Ephesians 1:13 — Gracious and powerful God, my healer and redeemer, thank You that I could hear the message of faith, the gospel of my salvation and actually begin to live in Christ. Thank You that upon my believing, You marked me with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ask yourself — Have you ever just known that the Holy Spirit was speaking to you through someone else’s life story? What was it about? What happened? Did you tell them about it? Have you ever had someone else tell you about something you shared that had meaning in their life? God did this! Mutual Indwelling!

Prayer: Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.


Day Six: 

Have you ever wondered how the angels can sing praises to God, all day, every day, for all eternity? Someone recently suggested that this kind of “singing” in God’s presence might be different than the singing we do now. Try to picture it as a mightier, more ecstatic, euphoric, rapturous version of the climax of the greatest feeling you’ve ever experienced here on earth!

Revelation 19:6 — Thank You, God, for the mystery of your incomprehensible promises! Thank You for the prophecy of John that my future holds “what sounds like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing water and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord Almighty reigns!’”

Colossians 3:16 (MSG) — Gracious God, help me let the peace of Christ keep me in tune with my fellow Christians, that we might be in step with each other. Keep me from going off and doing my own thing. Help me cultivate thankfulness. I pray that I let the Word of Christ have the run of my house — that I give it plenty of room and time in my life, that I use it when instructing and directing another in good, common sense, and that I sing my heart out together in tune with others united by the peace of Christ. I pray that every detail in my life - words, actions, whatever - be done in Christ with thankfulness every step of the way! Amen.

Ask yourself — Have you heard the song “I Can Only Imagine?” If not, take a listen. We don’t know exactly what heaven after life on earth will be like, but how do you imagine it? Do you ask God about it? Have you ever used the term “heaven on earth?” If so, to what experience were you referring?

Prayer: Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.


Day Seven: 

Prayer: Mighty, gracious, and loving God, thank You! Thank You for every gift You give to me, for your presence always with me, and for reaching out to me and interacting with me through Jesus Christ!  Lord, help me recognize that I no longer simply observe Jesus from the outside, but I live in Christ! I experience Christ from inside Him, which is where I live. Christ is the head of the body, and I am a part of that body, the church. You reconciled all things to Yourself, whether things on earth or things in heaven! Help me to become more aware of this each day and understand what this means more fully. Amen.

After a week of praying through and thinking about mutual indwelling, what do you think it means? Take some time to journal about that, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Come Holy Spirit Come,

Fill the hearts of your faithful

Enkindle in us the fire of Your love

Send for you Spirit and we shall be recreated

And You shall renew the face of the earth!