“…this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
Almost every message I’ve heard or devotional I’ve read during the past two months has had this theme somewhere inside. I went through the journal I use for church and my devotions and pulled a few lines that I want to share (these aren’t my original thoughts, they are excerpts from the things I’ve heard recently):
- I want to live my life in front of my family so that they know the secret is Christ in me.
- It’s not about the container. It’s what you contain.
- Everyone experiences pain, grief, frustration and disappointment. Sometimes we focus so much on what is going on around us that we forget there are people who are watching. Get a hold of something so powerful (the secret of Christ in you) that will sustain you through every moment, so that it makes others want what you have…because they so desperately need it.
- God is more interested in my heart than my happiness.
- It’s not about the circumstances in my life, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. The point is to keep my focus on God.
- It’s not the circumstances in your life that make you who you are. It’s your response to those circumstances.
- God’s presence in my life makes all the difference.
As an extremely impatient person who likes to have complete control of my situation, these words are not easy to swallow! Last week I was given a terrifying example of why I need to apply these truths to my heart. It happened at the post office around 3:30 on Monday afternoon. There was a line (isn’t there always a line at the post office?) and the lady waiting in front of me was so unhappy about having to wait. She was dressed very conservatively in a long skirt and wore her hair in a neat updo. She looked more like a lady who would hand you a gospel tract and say “God bless you” than one who would absolutely throw a fit because she had to wait 20 minutes to buy stamps.
She turned to her husband for the third or fourth time and said very loudly, “I don’t understand why I have to wait! Why aren’t there more people working here?!” He was visibly embarrassed and tried to quietly calm her down, but she continued to make a scene. It didn’t matter that the woman was dressed like a nice little church lady – everyone in that post office line knew what an unpleasant woman she was. All of the sudden I felt like I was looking through one of the SnapChat filters that ages you 30 years – I saw myself in her. I have definitely said the same things to my calm and patient husband (although never quite that loudly).
It’s not about the container. It’s what you contain.
God wants more for me than to be a grouchy old lady who can’t stand to wait in line for 20 minutes. My response to my circumstances will determine the outcome – not of my circumstances, but the kind of person I will become! Since the secret is Christ in me, I won’t be able to change my impatient, controlling nature by just trying harder. I have to allow the power of Christ in me to do the work in my heart. God’s presence in my life makes all the difference!
Is there a situation in your own life where you need to apply the secret? It’s Christ in you, the hope of glory!