This week I got to eat two of my favorite meals. While similar, there is one big distinction that struck me as a good analogy as we’re learning what it means to be united with Christ. I’m a visual person; maybe you’ve noticed. I love word pictures, examples, and stories that help me understand spiritual truths. I hope you like them too, because I’m going to tell you about the one I discovered in the midst of a couple of tasty meals!
Earlier this week I went to my parent’s house where mom made Paleo Dutch Babies. You use a whole lot of eggs and get this delicious, giant, fluffy pancake-like creation that completely fills a large, deep skillet. We top it with fruit and real maple syrup and it’s really healthy. We also top it with ice cream – which isn’t quite so healthy, but it sure is delicious!
We used raspberries, but they were frozen. So my mom heated them up and melted them down on the stovetop so they turned into this thick, rich sauce. We spooned it over the fluffy pancake and wow!
In this recipe you layer sliced fruit on the bottom of the dish and put all of the fluffy egg mixture on top of the fruit. Top with a few chocolate chips and you have another perfect meal.
These meals are similar, but the difference in the fruit is important. A lot of times we think of Jesus as being close to us. He walks with us, He leads us, and He never leaves us or forsakes us. This is true, but there’s more to it than that.
When I think of the relationship I just described I think of the strawberries layered in close. Jesus is right there next to us, close and intimate. But those strawberries keep to themselves. As close as they are, they are all still individual berries.
But the raspberries we had earlier in the week, they were unified. When they’re heated up and melted down, they blend together so well that there’s no way you could ever pick out one berry. It’s impossible. The berries have become one; they have become part of each other. In fact, you can’t really even call them raspberries anymore because the individual berries are gone. They have become something new entirely, a sauce so thoroughly combined that you can’t tell where one berry begins and another ends.
That, my friends, is unity, and that’s the relationship we have with Jesus. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we’re united with Him. It’s who we are, whether we realize it or not. It’s not something to be hoped for or to long for, it has already been accomplished.
Ephesians 2:13 (NLT) tells us, “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” Not only are we united with Jesus, we are brought near to God through the blood of Christ.
You see, through His death and the shedding of His blood Jesus paid the price for our sins and gave us new life – His life. When we choose to follow Jesus we’re united with Him, becoming one with Him. The trials of life heat us up and melt us down until we come to the end of ourselves.
That’s what happened to me. I was walking through life like a strawberry. I was close with Jesus, and I knew Him well. I trusted Him, I followed Him, and I did my best to honor and serve Him. But trials in life – chronic illness, tragedies, and the like – heated me up and melted me down until I had a meltdown. I was done. I didn’t know what to do and I was so very weary.
But that’s right where the Lord wanted me because that is where I finally realized that I was living a life I wasn’t meant to live. I was striving hard and trying to do life in my own strength. I had Jesus as close as I thought He could get, but I was wrong. He wanted so much more for my life, and He wants so much more for your life too.
When I understood who I was in Christ, that we were united – truly one – the pressures I had placed upon myself were lifted off my weary shoulders. God didn’t intend for us to carry heavy burdens. He sent Jesus not only to save our souls, but to give us new life. Like the raspberries turned into sauce once we realize our unity with Christ we understand that we really are a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come, and this new life in Christ is good. It’s so very good!
Do you know Jesus? Do you know the power of being one with Him? If not, talk to Him about it. Tell Him that you’re weary and that you want to live life united with Him. Ask Him to reveal to you the truth of who He is and who you are in Him. That’s a prayer He will be thrilled to answer!
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Jesus
(Matthew 11:29-30, NIV)