The difference, dear friends, is the difference between a religion and a relationship. The multitudes do not have a relationship with Jesus, and so they must travel to where He is and work their way into His presence in hopes of touching Him.
This is the way many church services operate. We go here and there hoping to touch something of the power of God, or the presence of God. Many times we do in fact touch something or receive something from the Lord – not because of the meeting, but in spite of the meeting. Even so, that touch does not last for very long. It is a touch, it is not the Living Christ. Soon we begin checking the calendar for the next meeting, gathering, conference, or church service so we can go back and get another touch. This represents something lacking in our walk.
I have been in many meetings where the worship leaders spent a great deal of time and energy trying to get people to “enter in” to worship or “enter in” to the presence of God. I used to lead worship this way and it can be very frustrating. Perhaps they enter in; perhaps they do not enter in. Either way, this struggle to “enter in” only proves one thing: neither the worship leaders nor the worshippers are abiding in Christ.
To abide in Him is to remain in Him. If we remain in Him we do not have to enter in to Him over and over again. That would be like trying to get into a room in which I am already sitting. Once we are in the room, and we are seated, we do not have to try and enter in.
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more” (Revelation 3:12a). Overcomers do not go to church to enter in to God; they do not require worship leaders to get them in the mood; they do not follow the multitudes around hoping to get a touch from the Lord. Overcomers are pillars in the Church that Jesus is building. They are permanent fixtures in the temple and they do not go out and in. They simply abide in Him.
I had the privilege last week of eating lunch with two pillars. The younger brother was from Australia, and the older brother was from England. When I say “older brother” I mean this gentleman was ninety-four years old. Before we began eating we asked the English brother to pray. Right there in the restaurant he cried out, “Heavenly Father!” He said it so slowly and deliberately and loudly that I thought his prayer would probably last thirty minutes or more. After a pause, he quietly said, “Thank you.” And we began to eat.
May I say that this brother spent no time entering in, because he was already abiding. With two or three words he brought us before the throne of God, and the very presence of Jesus was immediately manifest. This is what it means to touch the living Christ – immediately, effortlessly.
How do we abide in Christ? “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). Receiving Christ Jesus the Lord is the Gate, while walking in Him is the Path. The first happens in a moment, while the second is a daily process. How did we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? We came to Him with all our sins, and weaknesses, and needs, and we cast ourselves upon Him. We trusted in His Life, and His Love, and His Grace, and His Mercy to save us. And so He did.
What is the next step? It is this: to walk in Him as you received Him. “As you have received… so walk.” We are not saved by Grace and then left to live the Christian life in our own strength. Instead, we walk in Him the same way we received Him – by Grace, through Faith, and that not of ourselves. From start to finish it is the Gift of God.
I need Him as much today as I ever have. How about you? Apart from Him I can do nothing. Is this your experience also, or do you still think there are many things you can do without Him? I am still in need of His Life, and Love, and Grace, and Mercy in order to live. Are you that much different from me? I think not. We all approach Him the same way.
This understanding will naturally cause us to humble ourselves as little children. I do not know, I cannot say. I only know what Daddy says and I only see what Daddy does, and this is all I know. How do I know these things? When I pray, when I read the Scriptures, when I spend time with my brothers and sisters, when I just live life and keep my eyes open and my mouth closed, then I begin to experience intimacy with God, and that is when I begin to touch the living Christ – even though I know that these activities by themselves are not Christ. They can lead me to Him, and they can help me to abide in Him. Yet the goal is not the activity, but the intimacy.
To touch the living Christ we must first believe that He is, in fact, the living Christ. He is not dead. He is not a historical figure from two thousand years ago. He is not a mystical presence dwelling somewhere in the far reaches of the universe. He is not a system of theology or a doctrinal statement. He is not something I enter in to when I go to religious meetings, and something I leave when I go home. He is the Living Lord Who lives in me now, Who lives through me now, Who is with me everywhere I go.
This is not a complicated thing to understand, but our head tends to get in the way of our heart. The exhortation to abide is for little children, not grown-ups. Little children! There is a simplicity in Christ that the multitudes cannot comprehend. We cannot wrap our brains around it, we must immerse our hearts into it.