Abide: Christ IN You (Part 1)

From Rise Up, an online discipleship course for young adults

3 min

This article was taken from the Rise Up workbook, part of a 12-week online discipleship course for young adults. The next Rise Up course will be held September 11–December 4, 2023 (registration closes September 4).

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4).

You Can’t Succeed

You will never succeed at living the Christian life on your own. 

The sad part about this is not that the statement is true; the sad part is that many Christians never realize it. It is possible to live our entire lives with this thought in the back of our minds: “If I just try hard enough, someday I will get it.” Thus, every failure is met with this thought: “Must be I didn’t try hard enough.” Instead of drawing from the life of Christ for power to live, we place our confidence in our own abilities. 

“Someday I will have victory over my failures.” 

“If I try hard enough, I will stop having these wrong thoughts.” 

“If I develop enough discipline, I can overcome this habit.” 

“If I work really hard, I’ll finally be consistent in this area.” 

You walk away from sermons and retreats with an ever-growing checklist—do this, get better at that, work on this, etc. You may even have success for a while, but then, the battle returns. Failure again. And you say to yourself again, “I must try harder.” But the reality is that you cannot live the Christian life. At best, you will live a constant cycle of trying and failing, and trying harder and failing.

Christ In Me Succeeds

The underlying reason for our repeated failure is the belief that “if I try hard enough, I won’t fail.” The problem is that we are looking to ourselves to live the Christian life. You see, deep down we have an inner drive to make life work on our own. Our flesh doesn’t want to be dependent on anything or anyone else. 

Think through the following question: In your flesh, who are you without Christ? 

The correct answer is obviously, you are nothing. 

Now, answer this question: As Christ begins to work His character into your life and you begin to see victories, who are you without Christ? 

The answer is still the same, you are nothing.

Struggle comes because deep down we believe we can do it on our own. Without realizing it, we place our confidence in our ability to perform. With this mindset comes a drive to make our flesh better. We must realize that this attempt is futile—we can never make ourselves good enough! The drive to make ourselves better is based on the false belief that Jesus died to make you a better person. Take time to let this sink in: Jesus didn’t die to make you a better person. Jesus didn’t die to improve your flesh. 

Take time to let this sink in: Jesus didn’t die to make you a better person.

Because of your sin, you were condemned to die. And when Jesus died, you died with Him. When He was raised from the dead, it wasn’t so that you could live; it was so He could live through you. You are nothing; it is the life of Christ in you that is something. And it’s not you who improves and gets better; but rather, the manifestation of Christ in you becomes greater. This is exactly what Galatians 2:20 is talking about: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” 

Are you trying to live the Christian life? Stop. It is futile to try to improve your flesh—it can never be good enough (see Romans 7:18). You need another life to live by—you need the Son of God living His life through you. He can live the Christian life; you can’t! 

Now you might ask: “But God asks so much of me as a Christian! How will I ever meet those demands if I don’t try?” God’s confidence is not in your ability. His confidence is in His Son, and His Son lives inside you! Amazing, isn’t it?

About Rise Up

With online training videos, written material and assignments, online group meetings, and accountability for spiritual disciplines, Rise Up will challenge you to encounter God for yourself and see how His personal relationship with you affects every area of your life! The mission of Rise Up is to see young people encounter God through His Word and discover a personal relationship with Him in a deeper way than ever before. And then, out of that relationship, we join God in His desire that each young person would impact the world around them for the Kingdom of God.

Host a Rise Up Group

Are you interested in using the Rise Up curriculum for your Bible study group or Sunday school class? Rise Up’s content and structure work well for any age group and can be incorporated into many different dynamics! Check out Rise Up On-Site.

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