Contagious Carriers

It was the summer before my freshman year in high school when I began to notice change in my small town. There was story after story about person after person discovering Jesus Christ to be real. I saw life after life change—the hard-hearted now showing God’s love, the cynical teeming with hope and released to joy. And I wanted that. I wanted the peace that she had. I wanted the joy that he had. I wanted the assurance that they had. It would be years before I, too, placed my trust in Jesus, but it was these people’s undeniable experience and the irrefutable evidence of lives changed that sent me searching in earnest.

Peter urges us, “In your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). For most of us, it was love and joy shining through another that stirred our hope from its slumber and the word of God that woke our spirit to a new, never-ending day in Christ Jesus. Yet sometimes we let Peter’s call to defend our hope put us on the defensive. We feel inept to answer myriad questions arising out of a naturalist worldview or a relativistic culture, so we either consume ourselves in endless study, or we muzzle our hope and keep it to ourselves. But while it is helpful to grow in our ability to address people’s faith obstacles (answers do exist), we need to remember it is the truth of the gospel and its evidence through changed lives that reaches into searching souls and resonates in seeking hearts.

Using a lion as a metaphor for the word of God, 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Open the door and let the lion out; he will take care of himself.” We can say the same for our testimony: Open the door and let your new life shine; it will take care of itself. For Christ is contagious, and He is as real as the need in those who seek Him.

Father, you have given us new life. Send us in the truth of the gospel and the love of Christ, that your Spirit would shine through us as He has shone before us. May lives be reborn because you used your people. In Christ we pray. Amen.

Christ in me is confidence.


Safely Hidden

It’s a joke in our house—I’m just not good at surprising my wife. Once, I bought Peggy a bracelet for Christmas and hid it where I knew she wouldn’t find it. The secret would have been safe, too, except for the fact I was so pleased with my hiding place that, one day, I went to admire it … and Peggy found me there. Years later, we still laugh about it. The legend lives on.

Fortunately for the human race, God is better at hiding things than I am. In the Biblical context, a mystery is something knowable only by the one who initiates it and those to whom he chooses to reveal it. And before time began, God hid one mystery, in particular, in the safest place in the universe—He hid it in Himself, undiscoverable until the time of His choosing.1 When something is hidden in God, it’s hidden. What then could possibly be so important to God that He would keep it so secure? We are. For the mystery He eventually revealed was this: Jesus Christ living in us,2 freeing, saving and uniting forever all who would receive Him through faith.3

But why such secrecy? Why such drama? Again, it was for our own good and for God’s, for Paul tells us that if “the rulers of this age”—the spiritual powers of darkness—had understood the mystery of Christ in us, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”4 But for the hiding, the justice of God and the mercy of God would not have reconciled at the cross, and we would still be in our sin, separated forever from a holy God. As it is, however, “we may approach God with freedom and confidence,”5 for in Him and because of his wisdom, we are forgiven, reconciled, loved.

And in Him, we are eternally secure. How do we know? We have been “raised with Christ,” writes Paul, and our life is now “hidden with Christ in God.”6 And when something is hidden in God, it’s hidden.

Father, your wisdom is unsearchable, your power unsurpassable and your love immeasurable. I trust you. Send me and use me today in the complete confidence that, no matter what happens, I am safely and securely hidden in you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Christ in me is confidence.

1 Ephesians 3:9
2 Colossians 1:27
3 Ephesians 3:5, 6
4 1 Corinthians 2:8
5 Ephesians 3:12
6 Colossians 3:3


What Makes You Sing?

Think about it for a moment, what makes you sing? Is it, for you, beautiful weather? Words of encouragement? The kindness of a friend? Or time alone, perhaps? A few years ago, I had to chuckle at the curious realization that whenever I accomplished a meaningful task, my inner satisfaction found outward expression through lyrics. (And seemingly random ones, at that!)

Does anything stir us more deeply, though, than those moments when we experience for ourselves that God is real, that He loves us, and His words are true? He shows up when all hope is lost, and our spirits are lifted by a promise fulfilled—“I am with you always.”1 We see change within that only God could have brought about, and we are relieved to know He’s not finished with us yet.2 A Scripture passage leaps off the page and into our soul, proving God’s word to be “alive and active,”3 much more than a worldview. The one we’ve been praying for comes to new life through faith in Christ, and we can almost hear the “rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”4

These are the epiphany moments of truth, when we realize God is who He says He is, that He is faithful and His promises sure. So, Paul guides our thoughts: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”5 For these things of God are too powerful to contain, too mighty to suppress. We shouldn’t be surprised when they spring our silence into song.

Father, incline my heart to your Spirit, that I would overflow with joy at the thought of your faithfulness and the knowledge of your goodness. May my life bring you glory today. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:15, 16).

Christ in me is confidence.

1 Matthew 28:20
2 Philippians 1:6
3 Hebrews 4:12
4 Luke 15:10
5 Philippians 4:8