Along the Way: Now More Than Ever

Recently on a phone call with a former student who is struggling spiritually, I said to him, “I am more in love with Christ than I have ever been.” I spoke the words as an encouragement to him; the words fit the moment and context of our conversation. But as I shared them, they encouraged me too, and my soul rose up to exclaim, “It’s true! I really am in love with Christ now more than ever.”

Some would not say that of me. To them I have “gone down the slippery slope,” or to say it another way, I have “gone off the map and sailed where there be dragons.” But despite their allegations, I declare, “I am more in love with Christ than I have ever been.”

Why do I say this? Because I see him everywhere and in everything. As Paul put it, “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11), and I agree with E. Stanley Jones that those six words are the most important ones ever written. [1] They increase my vision of Christ, and the expansion increases my love.

One way to say it is this: I do not have Christ, he has me. And more, as Christians, we do not have Christ, he has us. And in that relationship Christ says, “Follow me, and I will show you what I am up to.” In that following he says over and over, “Look, I am here”…..”Look, I am there.” Then he blows all the sides out of my box and says, “I am Alpha and Omega.” And just as those words transformed John’s vision on Patmos, they transform mine in Florida.

The universal Christ has me now in ways I never experienced, and with it comes the increase of love. It is no accident that when Paul described the “in Christ” life (2 Corinthians 5:17), the next thing he mentioned was that those who are in Christ are given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5;18-19)—the ministry of being instruments of God’s peace for the restoration of oneness willed by God in the beginning. It is living in the new Awakening (at the heart an awakening of love) in ways that witness to the grand truth that “all are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28), and that just as all died in Adam, all will be made alive in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22). All means all.

It all happens as the cosmic Christ is on the move everywhere and in everyone telling them every way he can, “You are God’s beloved. This is my Father’s world.” And….he includes us in the privilege of getting that word out to everyone through our attitudes and actions, our words and deeds.

It is impossible not to love Christ more when this magnificent revelation washes onto the shore of your soul as a fresh wave of grace (John 1:16). I am not on a slippery slope, “I’m pressing on the upward way. New heights I’m gaining every day. Still praying as I’m upward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” [2]

[1] E. Stanley Jones, ‘In Christ’ (Abingdon Press, 1961), Week 40, Saturday.

[2] Hymn, “Higher Ground.”

[This post also appears on Ob

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 43 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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