Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

–John 14:22-24

Family Values

Before the rejuvenation of Spirit that came with Jesus and the new covenant, believers were living in an entirely different experience of the Kingdom of God. Everything was externalized—from worship, to prayer, to all manner of supernatural occurrences. The children of God went to the temple to pursue their relationship with Him, and traded with the priests of the time, who would act as gatekeepers to the Kingdom.

That’s what we call a ‘visitation culture’: one predicated upon events, like the physical practice of entering into church, or the advent of the Holy Spirit into peoples’ lives on a provisional basis. The new covenant, the promise of Christ in our lives, is based around a ‘habitation culture’. God has made His home with us. As we abide in Christ, Christ abides in us. Our hearts become Jesus’ dwelling place, and Heaven is attracted to the Son within us. That’s how God is able to see us as family to Him—it’s the presence of Jesus within us.

The change is more than simply cosmetic—from the cathedral to your living room—it’s the movement from the temple without to the temple within, a completely new paradigm for a totally fresh creation, empowering us to step out into life with a dynamic, utterly brilliant perspective.

The fact is that we are citizens of Heaven living on earth: the perspective we live with is an elevated one, as we have been elevated from an earthly home to a Heavenly one. From that lofty position we can see further, and our actions have greater weight. We enter into a more vibrant level of authority, one with a greater heft. Our new perspective brings with it a better, smarter, happier way of thinking—the way that the Father always intended for us to live—and with that comes a state-of-the-art method of communicating that new reality, an entirely unique language to express, via the Spirit, exactly how our new perspective has changed things for us. We no longer have good news to tell people. We are the good news, bursting at the seams with purpose. We’re not into qualifying ourselves as what we are not, but declaring ourselves as who we are in Jesus, and just as Jesus is, in Heaven and on earth, so we can be.

Just as this new declaration of identity and purpose, this upgraded relationship, transfigures the way we present ourselves, it transforms the way we’re seen and perceived by others. We move from being a people that overcome, to being a people that sweep all before them like a tidal wave. Now, it’s definitely something to be part of the winning team: through graft, persistence and moxie, overcoming great odds to stand triumphant at the end of the day. It’s the cliché of every great sports movie, the truism at the heart of the American Dream… and it’s completely unnecessary when your aspect is such that obstacles melt before you and opponents flee the battlefield, or are too intimidated to show up. No longer subject to insecurity and gnawing doubts, our new dynamic in Christ allows us to believe that anything is possible, and therefore that everything is possible. Worthwhile struggle is a noble thing, but it shouldn’t be entered into purely for the sake of it: that’s when it becomes a matter of ego.

The key to this kind of radical transformation is always our identity in Christ—that which expresses God’s view of us, His wish for our lives. Our outward affect begins to resemble who we have become inside, and we step before the Father just as the Son would. By remaining true to His image of us, we communicate that person to others, and by extension the Person of Jesus.

Rest is vital in situations such as these. We’re given our identity in Christ in order that we can relax into it before issues arise, so that we are armored in God’s truth of who we are. Take a moment… a deep breath, and give yourself some space. Relax, become at peace, and you’ll gradually tune into what the Spirit is saying to you. Remember, as Christians we partner with the Holy Spirit in everything, and especially in the creation and maintenance of our inner selves. We take refuge and rest in a place of worship and rejoicing, thanking Him for our new self-image. He’s delighted we’re so thrilled with it—He worked on it especially for us! And His enthusiasm for it is infectious. After all, we’re family.

We’re a risen people, just as Jesus is the risen Lord. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and it’s a new life—empowered with a favor that mirrors Christ’s own favor with the Father.