One of the best pieces of advice concerning the Christian life I ever received was, â€œThink position!â€ In other words, learn to view your life as God sees it, i.e. as you are in Christ. The term, â€˜in Christâ€™, or its equivalent, is found over 150 times in the New Testament, so itâ€™s obviously vital to our understanding of the Christian walk.
Jesus was the first to teach that the relationship He would have with His people would be based upon their position in Him. He said, â€œIn that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in youâ€ (Jn.14:20).
Every human being is either in Adam or in Christ. And it is that which determines what is true about us. We began our journey â€˜in Adamâ€™. In Adam we were sinners and in Adam we die. But when we came to faith in Christ we were incorporated into Him. This means that we died to our old identity in Adam, we were buried with Christ, we were raised with Him to newness of life, and we are now seated with Him in the heavenly places. This is our position. â€œAs He is, so are we in this worldâ€ (1 John 4:17).
Are You An Externalist, Or An Internalist?
Every Christian is either an externalist or an internalist. An externalist constantly views himself on the basis of his condition. Our condition is comprised of the things we experience, i.e. the external things of life such as our works, our performance, our achievements, our behaviour, the opinions and judgments of others, things that have happened to us in the past, etc. An externalist looks to these things to evaluate himself.
An internalist, however, focuses upon position. Our position is the truth about us based upon our new creation identity in Christ. One of my favourite sayings is, â€œItâ€™s not your condition that determines your position, but knowing your position that will determine your condition.â€ In other words, itâ€™s not what you do that determines who you are, but knowing who you are, that will determine what you will do. Thatâ€™s why we need to renew our minds daily by choosing to think position, not condition.
For example, every Christian sins. And yet, in the New Testament epistles we are never referred to as sinners. Not once! We are saints; saints who sometimes sin, yet saints even when we do sin.
Most Christians are externalists. Visit many Christian bookshops today and you will find they full of self-help books. â€œTen ways to be a better husband.â€ â€œSix steps to controlling your anger.â€ â€œHow to break free from addiction.â€ â€œKeys to overcoming fear,â€ etc. The message is to go to work on some aspect of your condition. This is change via behaviour modification.
Becoming Who You Are
Let me ask you a question, â€œAre you working on your salvation, or working out your salvation?â€ When you ask some Christians how they are going with a particular struggle they are having, they might reply, â€œOh, Iâ€™m working on it.â€ Thatâ€™s their problem. Paul says, â€œWork out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasureâ€ (Phil.2:12&13). Donâ€™t work on your salvation. Work out your salvation. We work out what God has worked in.
When God saved us He made us righteous in the deepest part of us, our spirit. Dear friend donâ€™t work on becoming righteous; you are righteous. Know who are, believe who you are and you will become who you are. Think position!