What does it mean to “Live by Christ?”
For myself, even living for the Lord since I was 13, I had never heard or even understood this statement until recently. Living by Christ is understanding that Christ, by way of the Holy Spirit actually dwells within the hearts of believers. Frank Viola actually refers to this as the indwelling life of Christ, which also happens to be an amazing discipleship course he offers.
Numerous times throughout his epistles, Paul makes reference to the Christian life, and how it is to be lived.
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
- Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices – Colossians 3:5-10
- …that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:26-27
- 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. – Romans 8:10-11 NASB
- …so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… – Ephesians 3:17
This is by no means an exhaustive list of scriptures illustrating Christ’s dwelling in us. But, we can see over and over throughout the New Testament that Christ actually dwells in us through faith. Now, living by Christ comes by allowing him to live through what Watchman Nee refers to as our “outer man” or our flesh. His (Christ’s) spirit resides with our spirit in our “inner man” or our spirit. (For more on the inner man and outer man look into Watchman Nee’s book “The Release of The Spirit.”)
Living by Christ is putting away all anger, wrath, malice, slander, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, idolatry and obscene talk from your mouth. Now, as humans will we fail at this? Assuredly. But, it is the continual striving to put away those things and to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
When you put away these things and allow the Lord to truly live through you the fruit of the spirit will begin to present itself.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
Notice Paul refers to it as the fruit singular, instead of fruits plural. This is because it is by the one Spirit, His Spirit, dwelling within us and truly living in and through us. So as we go forth and explore “Living By Christ” we will seek to understand His life being lived out through us as we encounter our daily walk, theology, leadership, marriage, controversial topics, and even as we review books, services, or products you will utilize in your daily lives.
Remember, as Paul states, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.” – Galatians 2:20
Christ must be allowed to live the Christian life through you. You cannot do it on your own