“The other day,” Stan began, “I wanted to get together with a friend to discuss a project we are working on at the church. I asked him if the next day would work, but he said I had better call beforehand because he was going to be in and out all day.”
“So,” I responded, “have you gotten together?”
“Not yet,” Stan replied, “but I’m going to call him again as soon as we are done here this morning.”
“Well,” I said, “I hope he won’t be in and out again today.”
“Me, too,” Stan replied. “And that’s the same prayer I have for myself every day regarding God’s will.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Even though I am ‘in’ concerning my eternal destination because I’ve accepted God’s free and gracious provision, there are too many times on this side of eternity when I am in and out of God’s will for me.”
“In and out of God’s will?” I said. “Why’s that?”
“Choice,” was Stan’s one-word answer. “Too often I choose to go my own way, following after what I want to follow rather than following God in Christ.”
“Missing the third step of discipleship?” I responded. “Failing to follow after you have denied yourself and have taken up what God has for you to take up?”
“Yeah,” Stan said, “and it’s not just the third step I miss. Way too often I also miss the first two steps!”
“How can you avoid that?” I asked.
“Seems to me,” he replied, “that the apostle Paul addressed that in a single phrase of a sentence in the third chapter of his letter to the church in Philippi, the letter he also sent to me and to all of us.”
“What phrase is that?”
“That I may be found in Christ,” Stan said.
“Found in Him,” I commented, “rather than being found in and out. Is that what you’re saying?”
“You got it, my friend,” he replied. “First be ready to be in eternity with God when it’s time, and then be in Christ for this side of eternity. In, not in and out!”
Bible verses to consider:
(That) I may be found in Him (Jesus). Philippians 3:9.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.
There is therefore now no condemnation for this who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1.
And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious provision available to be accepted so I will be in your eternal presence when the time comes. Thank you, too, that I can be in Christ in the sense of being entirely His on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I’m in and out in my relationship with you because I choose to be apart from you, following after what I want, rather than what you have for me. Please forgive that foolishness, and please help me follow every step of your lead so that I am always in the place you intend for me to be in an ever-deepening personal relationship with you in and through Jesus. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in His precious name. Amen.
Think on this: Do you know that you will be in God’s eternal presence when your time here is done because you have accepted His free and gracious gift? If no, why? What’s in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing in being in Christ on this side of eternity? Are you more in and out than you are in? If so, why is that? If you sense there should be less in and out in your relationship with God, how is that going to change? Is that what you want? Why or why not?
The Book. If you haven’t looked at it yet, Waiting for the Train: Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, by S. Tory Teller (Foreword by Josh McDowell), can be seen and ordered at amazon.com and the following website: www.s-toryteller.com