December 4, 2013

After devotions on vacation, granddaughter Jamie asked, “Since Iron Man does not have a heart, where does Jesus live?” Her brother, Zane, added his inquiry, “If Jesus lives in us, how does He get out?” (I think I would rather answer questions at a pastors’ conference!) We finally agreed that since Iron Man was pretend it didn’t matter. Zane seemed satisfied that we do not want Jesus to “get out”!

Jesus’ mode of presence is hard to visualize for little ones—and big ones too! In John 14:20, Jesus says to His disciples, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” He compares His relationship with us to the mystery of His relationship with His Father. Then two pictures: Jesus in us and us in Jesus. The latter helps us Live In Faith Everyday.

Living in faith every day flows from living in Christ every day. Living in Christ every day is like living in the womb every day! We live a good portion of our life in the womb under water. We live surrounded by amniotic fluid. We live in a safe (except for abortion), protected place. God shapes and forms us there. Nothing can touch our lives without passing through this watery cushion. Our mom removes our waste and nourishes us through the umbilical cord. As we grow we become more and more active—swimming, doing somersaults, kicking our mom, and so much more. Living underwater in our mom is, to quote a modern descriptive, “sweet”!

When we leave this underwater world and are baptized, we live underwater again! We live in Christ. We are “baptized into Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:3). We live surrounded by God’s grace. We live in a safe, protected place. He shapes and forms us there using even the suffering in our lives. We have the assurance that nothing can touch our lives without passing through His grace. God removes our “waste” through His daily forgiveness. He nourishes us with His Word and Sacraments. As we grow we become more and more active—rejoicing in Him, obeying His commands, loving our neighbor, loving our enemies, witnessing to His love, speaking up for the vulnerable and so much more. Living underwater in Christ is, to quote a theological descriptive, “faith”!

Living in faith every day is not so much striving to gain something as it is striving in something already gained for us in Christ. We live in faith, not trying to secure His favor, but in His favor. We live in faith not hoping for victory, but in His victory. We live in faith, not based on a righteousness of our own, but in His righteousness. We live in faith, not in the absence of suffering, but in His suffering on the cross which helps make sense out of our suffering. We live in faith, not seeking purpose for our lives, but in the purpose to which He calls us. We live in faith, not motivated by fear, but in His promises that move us to make good decisions trusting in Him. We live in faith, not wishing to secure eternal life, but in eternal life already secured.

So live under water every day! Live In Faith Everyday! For you live in Christ every day!

Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb is the executive director of Lutherans For Life.