I would like to expound somewhat on some of my earlier comments regarding intimacy with God. I had written that belief is not enough, that in fact we need a personal encounter with God. Well, not that we ‘need’ but the grace of God includes a personal encounter with the Trinity.
Paul writes that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Romans 8. I take that love as a real and personal as well as powerful entity living and breathing life in us. Jesus said on one occasion that he would along with the Father would come and make his home IN us. John 14. He said that concerning followers who were in love with him then and now. In Ephesians 3 Paul writes these words
“16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
I take this to mean that there is a real presence of God in us assisting us to know his love. It is by God’s grace that such a presence, a power, a love can reside in us though our own personal disciplines of such things as prayer, fasting, reading the scriptures, doing acts of service and meeting as community.
In the twenty third Psalm we read ‘I will fear no evil for thou art with me’ This means that nothing evil can affect those who are in love with God because God is a reality that governs their lives, God is a love that provides for them, God is a person made actual in Jesus Christ to keep us with God, forever.
And finally (for now) when Paul prays that he yearns for Christ to be formed in us, I believe he means the real nature of Christ residing in our lives wherever you are comfortable locating that presence.
I can live in this world solidly for Christ because I know that Christ is living in me. Nothing else can define my life but my relationship with my God, which I understand by his grace to be quite fine.
If we are to live as students of Jesus, followers, disciples who make a difference in this world we are fortunate to have this assurance from God.