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Touching the Living Christ

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  • April 11, 2009
touchinglivingchrist

“And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all” (Luke 6:19).

“And now, little children, abide in Him” (I John 2:28a).

How do we touch the living Christ? The answer to this question depends entirely upon our relationship to Jesus. If we are part of the multitude then we must try and touch Him; but if we are one of His little children then we may simply abide in Him.

The difference, dear friends, is the difference between a religion and a relationship. The multitudes do not have a relationship with Jesus, and so they must travel to where He is and work their way into His presence in hopes of touching Him.

This is the way many church services operate. We go here and there hoping to touch something of the power of God, or the presence of God. Many times we do in fact touch something or receive something from the Lord – not because of the meeting, but in spite of the meeting. Even so, that touch does not last for very long. It is a touch, it is not the Living Christ. Soon we begin checking the calendar for the next meeting, gathering, conference, or church service so we can go back and get another touch. This represents something lacking in our walk.

I have been in many meetings where the worship leaders spent a great deal of time and energy trying to get people to “enter in” to worship or “enter in” to the presence of God. I used to lead worship this way and it can be very frustrating. Perhaps they enter in; perhaps they do not enter in. Either way, this struggle to “enter in” only proves one thing: neither the worship leaders nor the worshippers are abiding in Christ.

To abide in Him is to remain in Him. If we remain in Him we do not have to enter in to Him over and over again. That would be like trying to get into a room in which I am already sitting. Once we are in the room, and we are seated, we do not have to try and enter in.

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more” (Revelation 3:12a). Overcomers do not go to church to enter in to God; they do not require worship leaders to get them in the mood; they do not follow the multitudes around hoping to get a touch from the Lord. Overcomers are pillars in the Church that Jesus is building. They are permanent fixtures in the temple and they do not go out and in. They simply abide in Him.

I had the privilege last week of eating lunch with two pillars. The younger brother was from Australia, and the older brother was from England. When I say “older brother” I mean this gentleman was ninety-four years old. Before we began eating we asked the English brother to pray. Right there in the restaurant he cried out, “Heavenly Father!” He said it so slowly and deliberately and loudly that I thought his prayer would probably last thirty minutes or more. After a pause, he quietly said, “Thank you.” And we began to eat.

May I say that this brother spent no time entering in, because he was already abiding. With two or three words he brought us before the throne of God, and the very presence of Jesus was immediately manifest. This is what it means to touch the living Christ – immediately, effortlessly.

How do we abide in Christ? “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). Receiving Christ Jesus the Lord is the Gate, while walking in Him is the Path. The first happens in a moment, while the second is a daily process. How did we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? We came to Him with all our sins, and weaknesses, and needs, and we cast ourselves upon Him. We trusted in His Life, and His Love, and His Grace, and His Mercy to save us. And so He did.

What is the next step? It is this: to walk in Him as you received Him. “As you have received… so walk.” We are not saved by Grace and then left to live the Christian life in our own strength. Instead, we walk in Him the same way we received Him – by Grace, through Faith, and that not of ourselves. From start to finish it is the Gift of God.

I need Him as much today as I ever have. How about you? Apart from Him I can do nothing. Is this your experience also, or do you still think there are many things you can do without Him? I am still in need of His Life, and Love, and Grace, and Mercy in order to live. Are you that much different from me? I think not. We all approach Him the same way.

This understanding will naturally cause us to humble ourselves as little children. I do not know, I cannot say. I only know what Daddy says and I only see what Daddy does, and this is all I know. How do I know these things? When I pray, when I read the Scriptures, when I spend time with my brothers and sisters, when I just live life and keep my eyes open and my mouth closed, then I begin to experience intimacy with God, and that is when I begin to touch the living Christ – even though I know that these activities by themselves are not Christ. They can lead me to Him, and they can help me to abide in Him. Yet the goal is not the activity, but the intimacy.

To touch the living Christ we must first believe that He is, in fact, the living Christ. He is not dead. He is not a historical figure from two thousand years ago. He is not a mystical presence dwelling somewhere in the far reaches of the universe. He is not a system of theology or a doctrinal statement. He is not something I enter in to when I go to religious meetings, and something I leave when I go home. He is the Living Lord Who lives in me now, Who lives through me now, Who is with me everywhere I go.

This is not a complicated thing to understand, but our head tends to get in the way of our heart. The exhortation to abide is for little children, not grown-ups. Little children! There is a simplicity in Christ that the multitudes cannot comprehend. We cannot wrap our brains around it, we must immerse our hearts into it.

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About Chip Brogden

Chip Brogden is an international best-selling author, teacher and founder of TheSchoolOfChrist.Org and Sonrise Television. His writings and teachings reach more than 135 nations with a simple, consistent, Christ-centered message. Connect with Chip on Twitter or Facebook.

34 Comments

  • Sharon says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    The simplicity of Christ. I am finally starting to get it. Yes, as a child. With the heart, not the mind.

  • Bettina Frutoz says:

    “Look, here is the Christ”,or “there He is !”(Mathew 24;23)
    If Christ is in us, we will not go there even if they tell us:”there He is !” Jesus warned us about that. When Christ lives in us and we abide in Him we know where He is !!!!! Hallelujah !!!!

    Thank you Jesus !!

  • Tina says:

    He orders the steps of His children. These steps are not for us to be great in His eyes, but for Him to be great in ours. These steps are they of spiritual growth. The simplicity of it, is agreeing with Him, then one can walk together hand in hand.
    I had to agree that my heart was evil beyond measure, and there was nothing good in me, and called that step one. He then took my hand and would guide with each step there after, be it with my mouth, attitude or the way I thought. It was in the wanting to do it my way, that I would feel the letting go of my hand, and darkness then would ensue, only to find that when I would just agree again that He was right and I was wrong, would I feel that gentle hand placed back in mine.
    Relationship indeed, as a father takes the hand of their children as they take steps of growth to be able to walk up right and not fall. This is our Heavenly Father, but He does not let go of the hand even after we have matured, for we are still but children and apt to make mistakes. And still His love covers a multitude of sins.

  • eve says:

    One can not step out of Christ for if you have chosen to ask Christ into your life, he says:

    I will be with you. I will not leave you.
    Joshua 1:5

    We can feel we did it all wrong and that he has left but I tell you the truth,

    The Lord is faithful. 2 Thes 3:3

    He does not leave you on a whim. He does not leave you when you make a mistake. NO he STAYS WITH YOU while you learn how to be with him.

    Sharon says it well, its not about the mind…trying to figure God out… it’s about the heart, trusting in HIM to do all things for HE IS ABLE.

    Rest in the knowledge that The Lord is Faithful.

    Draw close to God and he will draw near to you. James 4:8

    Watch and pray. Mark 13:33… and see what he does in your life!

    In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.. Prov 3:6

    God bless, Eve UK x

  • Lori says:

    How is it when we are first born again and are so passionate about our Lord and just walking with Him and trusting Him that we get derailed along the way? Thank you for the reminder brother Chip! Praise the Lord!

  • Simantov says:

    Oh my prayer has been for years to walk in this reality of what is in the word. But God knows I am still a far off. Or at least it seems so…

  • Nancy W. says:

    HEAVENLY FATHER … Thank You!

  • Valerie says:

    So very true. It takes a long time, for some maybe more than others, to trust and believe- disregarding feelings. This process makes me think of the writings in 1John where reference is made to little children, young men and fathers. Fathers KNOW Him. That should be our ultimate pursuit. Unfortunately, we know that the institution of Christianity has created strongholds stunting growth. It’s so tempting to forsake love and prayer when we see it. It’s great news that God is bigger than all our blunders. I am preaching to the choir here (ME).

    Excellent article Chip. We are blessed by your writings. Peace and Joy to you and yours this Christmas season!

  • Burl Landers says:

    He Lives! He Lives!
    Christ Jesus lives today.
    He walks with me, He talks with me
    Along life’s narrow way.

    He Lives! He Lives!
    Salvation to impart.
    You ask me how I know He lives,
    He Lives within my heart.

    I am SO glad to be out of the arena where it seems like a competition, in meetings, to “enter in” to worship. After all, true worship is more of a Lifestyle than it is an Occasion where we seek some sort of sensation by getting all “pumped up”. We don’t have to have a $100,000 organ, a five piece band or the worlds most talented worship leader. Just me and Him!
    I am even more glad to be IN the arena where I can simply Walk in Him. He is Really as close as the mention of His Name. There’s no competition. There’s plenty of room in His prescense. No need to “fight the crowd” to see Him. He’s right here!
    Plus, I don’t have to Achieve a certain thing or a certain Level to enter in. He already Achieved it! He made the way! Now, I can “rest in Him”. Praise His Name Forever!

  • Kris says:

    Thank you, once again, for the simplicity of the truth. I have been reading your daily postings, etc. for so long now and have been blessed with how you express so much of what the Lord has done in my life and with many friends who have been led by the Lord out of the ‘organized church.’ I have had many experiences in many churches as the Lord said to my husband and I, over ten years ago that He would take us places and show us who His prophets and apostles were and were not. And that He would take us places where there was ‘a lot of hubbub and lots of activity’ as if His Spirit was there, but His Spirit was not. And during those ten years, the Lord showed us so much of the false teachings and prophecy/apostasy infecting ‘the church.’ It has been quite a sobering journey. But that is a very long story… during that time- as you mentioned- we so often observed the self-efforts and pleas from church leaders to “enter in” and “Holy Spirit, come down.” And we would shake our heads, asking ourselves, ‘why must we enter in, when the Holy Spirit is with us and we abide already in the Lord?” And even wondered how some of those could lead anyone anywhere in spiritual matters. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. What discouraging years to see the futility of folks efforts and misunderstanding of the Lord and His Word. But at the same time, what glorious years to be guided by the Lord to know Him more deeply and to meet other brothers and sisters who He was ‘taking the same way’ in showing and revealing more of Himself and His truth and to be used by the Lord to witness to others struggling with the issues facing the church– the very things that you write about. It’s probably finally time that I thank you for ALL the teachings, etc that you send which witness to the very things which we experienced over these years. Bless you and your family as the Lord continues to guide you in His ways…. “so times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

  • Brother, communion , likeminded , HIS LIFE in our life, believing the truth to be like HIM, JOHN 17.17 as little children as you said, thank you for your teachings, !! be blessed you and your wife Karla and children and extended family.hugs in HIS NAME

  • Very helpful teaching for christians today I will share it THANKS Blessings

  • Nancy Teague says:

    The contrast between the multitudes and children is very insightful. Having been part of the multitude that runs here and there just to ‘touch’ and find more of Him is so true. Then the striving to enter into His presence through pre-planned worship or to think that is the main way (i.e. worship) to touch Him or get a touch from Him is a telling description of tradition and our misunderstanding of relationship. Chip’s point of just being a child to connect with Him is right on. May I add another facet of being a child and abiding – what is one thing children love to do? They love to play with other children – they are drawn to other kids! They love to ‘abide’ with one another and interact. When Jesus said I am the vine, you are the branches, abide in Me and bear much fruit – I think the key of that is abiding is being with each other – if we abide with others we truly are abiding in Him. He loves for us to be together (even as children do) – to really know each other, to enjoy each other, to encourage each other. If we do that and we really get to know Him! Our individual abiding is important but I believe true abiding in Him happens corporately – that’s when we can really touch and know Him – finding the Jesus in each other draws us deeper into Him and each other. Seems that would make us one! In playing (abiding) together surely He is richly and fully expressed.
    P.S. Children love to play together but inevitably someone will get hurt, squabbles arise, selfishness prevails – but with a little refereeing issues are resolved and immediately they are back to playing and enjoying each other! Oh to be like children and re-abide quickly!

  • Stephen says:

    When you put the question: I think we waste a lot of time trying to “get into” the presence of God. What do you think? My initial reaction was: ‘I don’t because I never left it!’

    Then I read your article and found that is exactly what you said, onlt you used more words ;o)

    Blessings to you

  • lawrence lee says:

    I agree with you Chip, that we waste a lot of time trying to get into the presence of God. I pray we realize that I am His and He is mine, there is no separation. Thank You Jesus

  • Clare says:

    What a wonderful truth!…..Thank you, Chip! It adds to what I have just been reading (again) in Tozer’s book, “The Pursuit of God”……….

    “Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy Of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His presence and LIVE OUR WHOLE LIFE THERE…..it is more than a doctrine….it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day.

    “The Flame of the Presence was the beating heart of the Levitical order. Without it all the appointments of the tabernacle were characters of some unknown language, having no meaning for Israel or for us. The greatest fact of the tabernacle was that JEHOVAH WAS THERE; a Presence was waiting within the veil.

    “Similarly, the presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to the conscious awareness of His presence. That type of Christianity which happens now to be the vogue knows His presence only in theory. It fails to stress the Christian’s privilege or present realization. According to its teachings we are in the presence of God positionally, and nothing is said about the need to experience that Presence actually. The fiery urge that drove men like McCheyne is wholly missing. And the present generation of Christians measures itself by this imperfect rule. Ignoble contentment takes the place of burning zeal. We are satisfied to rest in our judicial possessions and , for the most part, we bother ourselves very little about the absence of personal experience.

    “Who is this within the veil who dwells in fiery manifestations? It is none other than God Himself. ‘One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.’ It is ‘one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God’…… And it is the ‘Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life’…..

    “Behind the veil of God……….Now He waits to show Himself in ravishing fulness to the humble of soul and the pure in heart. [see Matt.27:50-53 – my insert]

    “The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the church is famishing for want of His presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God, and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged. This would burn away the impurities from our lives as the bugs and fungi were burned away by the fire that dwelt in the bush.” (A.W.Tozer from “The Pursuit of God”)

    As Chip says, we surely can do nothing without Him, and I praise God that the moment Christ cried out from the cross, that veil was RENT in TWO – and God’s Presence was made available every moment of every day, to ALL who would seek Him with ALL of their hearts! He dwells now in temples NOT made with hands, but within the Holy of Holies in His people! We need NOT to go out to seek Him, for He is now within us! The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Hallelujah!…..and ALL that He is, is there for us and our empowerment to glorify Him in ALL that we do and say! All that Jesus did we will do, and GREATER things we will do by faith – because He dwells in us. Oh, GLORY to God in the Highest! Hallelujah!

  • Angel Pla says:

    I agree with you 101%! When we abide in Him we do not need to pray such long prayers. I havemet brothers and sisters that believe they have to repeat and repeat. If you are in HIm, He is in you and there is no need to repeat, beacuse HE listens!

  • Theresa Williams says:

    On time! I love how you explained the difference between “abiding” and “touching” Him. And the older brother’s prayer is just as it should be! If we “abide” in Him, meaning that we are still connected from the last prayer we prayed because we “pray always…”, we stay in that place, then there is no need, absolutely, no need to get “prayed up” for the next time! We’re already there! Amen! God bless you! Good Word!!!

  • jim b says:

    Thanks for sharing brother Chip,

    This is an excellent very timely wordfor the body of Christ; and is surely a “proceeding word from the mouth of God” for today…

    But he answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’.
    (Matt. 4:4)

    May all who read this be blessed with mercy, grace and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus.

  • Pam says:

    Religion is work. Relationship is abiding. We love Him because He loved us first. Come to Me as a little child. The simplicity of Christ. Why do we make it so difficult? I have learned how to abide and how to trust and how to rest in Him! Took me half my life but I’m there! I no longer see Him separate from me. He abides in me and I abide in Him. We are one! Great article-thanks.

  • Macario Cadatsl says:

    There are atleast two ways, for me, of looking at it. I can look at it on my vantage point of view, meaning yes all i need to do is to abide in Him by faith. In other words maintain my relationship in an upward pattern (from glory to glory). He is the air i breathe. There is no time i stop breathing, except if i deliberately hold my breath such as when i dive in water for few minutes. I don’t need to call for air which is equivalent to calling the “presence of the Lord”. All i have to do is continue breathing since air is always present. So in like manner all i have to do is to continue abiding since the Lord is always present. This is what i mean by looking on my vantage point. It is me doing AFTER the Lord has touched me or made me alive otherwise i cannot do it my self voluntarily because i am dead in the first place. The second way of looking at it is on the vantage point of the Lord. He does everything from start to finish. I am dead. As such He touched me and made me alive. He put His Life in me and sustains me by that Life, which is the same as He brought me to the door, enters me in and walk me through the path, still in the process of walking me the path till the fullness of Christ formed in me, maybe cut short by physical death or second coming of Christ whichever comes first. Let me emphasis that i am NOT a robot in this way but by faith from the Lord “let your will be done”. In either way i don’t run to and fro “seeking the presence of the Lord” here and there. In either way, technically, i don’t have anything to do. True, the wordings of the Bible do seems to indicate that we have a part to do, such as “ask, seek, knock” (Matt. 7:7), etc. But let me ask, as branches can we, by ourselves, attached and abide by ourselves to the Vine, let alone bear fruits by ourselves independent of the Husbandman? Elsewhere in Scripture the Vine even said He is not independent from the Husbandman. The Husbandman does ALL the work even in the natural (grapes husbandry/growing).

    • Chip Brogden says:

      Jesus says abide in Me. So I think saying, “I don’t have anything to do” leaves the wrong impression. What you can do is either abide in Him, or not abide in Him. But He does not give us commandments such as Ask, Seek, Knock, Abide, Love, Forgive, etc. unless there IS something for us to do. If we love Him then we do what He says to do. You *cannot* escape the doing by trying to be a passive little branch. The context is clear that we are to produce fruit. The Bible does not just just “seem to indicate that we have a part to do” – it clearly spells out specific actions and evidences (fruit) of an active faith. I think it would be more correct to say that we do not labor, work, strive, or do anything in our own strength. But the passive “do nothing, He does everything” approach is slightly off-balance, in my opinion. Even the fruit of the Spirit is not produced automatically without us doing our part by “sowing to the Spirit.” Thanks for your comments, I hope this helps.

      • V says:

        Hi Chip!

        Just want to say thanks for all the many great blessings I have from your daily news letters.

        Whilst I agree with the truth that we are not to be passive, I don’t believe we are to ‘produce’ fruit.
        It may be seen as nit picking, and some may not find it important, but (imho) we are to ‘bare’ the fruit.

        A branch contains the flow of life from the tree to which it is attached, and the fruit is the product of that life which the branch bares.

  • Mina says:

    Thank you again Chip, We are so blessed by your obedeince to give out to us what you recieve from our LORD, This message has been such a help, as I have often ” struggled” to pray long prayers, to “enter into HIs presence”, when all the time— we are in HIS presence daily, because — HE never leaves us, GOD bless you & family

  • Macario Cadatal says:

    Chip, thanks for your reply to my comments above. I perfectly understand what you mean in your reply. I think i failed to realize that there might be some readers who may misunderstand what i meant and may really opt to take the road of least resistance such as “i do nothing” sort of attitude. In reality we have great responsibility for what the Lord has revealed to us. I perfectly understand that its the “doers” not the hearers of the word that are justified. What i wrote is what i understand, not for others, hence for me only. But in practice i do practice being a “doer”. However, first of all (please correct me if i am wrong in this) i, of my own independent effort, can’t come to Christ and establish a relationship, same as entering the door (Christ) and walking the path. The Father has to draw me first (John 6:44). After this i am responsible and accountable to my own attitudes and responses. Yes having the Life of God we have a lot of works to do together with Him, in Him and through Him and i see no reason to fail or else i am still in darkness and everything i do is but religiosity. Thanks again.

  • Kristine says:

    I love your statement, Chip, about keeping our eyes open and our mouths shut to truly experience intimacy with Christ. For the past several months, God has given me the instruction to “let my words be few” which has been a challenging exercise to basically be quiet. But your word today edifies what He has spoken. I have been so enriched by following this simple yet not necessarily easy instruction because it truly embodies what abiding is about. So much of our words are in vain and I’ve learned that to be silent is to present Christ to others in a way that I could not verbally. It’s a beautiful abiding experience to learn to be quiet and I love seeing how God will choose words for me when I surrender my own.

    ~Kristine

  • Miguel Gonzalez says:

    Hi everybody, I just want to say I used to trust more in my feelings that in the fact of Jesus living in me and being with me every day, minute, second, instant of my life. Because of that i looked “His Presence” like something more tangible. Now I realize the true of this constant presence, and I have no more need for looking nothing more “special”, cause now I can see Him constantly in my diary walk. Of course, this understanding makes me “do” more to look His guidance, His advice, His desire.

  • Elena S. Pura says:

    I’m also a follower of Christ . I got born again in l982 and up to this time I’m still serving Him. Yes, as a follower our main concern is our diligent obedience. Abiding in Him will give us certainty to have eternal life. In your message, you’re pointing out that our relationship with God must always be on the go. Focus our eyes to heavenly things and that will help us to mature spiritually. Make our faith stronger and stronger until we reach the finish line of our spiritual journey. Glory to God!

  • Len Gieni says:

    Simplistic elegance as God wills, trusting Him is abiding. Well said.

  • terry marler says:

    We have too many voices, saying go this way or do this. Only one thing we need to hear. His voice. This world works very hard to drown out that voice but when Christ speaks to us then we hear right and see right. He is the only one who knows how to quiet us down and cause us to abid in him.

  • Dee says:

    Thanks Chip for your obedience and faithfulness. May you and your family be blessed abundantly with more wisdom, health and provision. Your labor is definately not in vain in the Lord. This article was very timely. It reminds one to not get caught up in works and vain repetitions. Love always. Your sister in Christ…Dee.

  • Angelina says:

    Thanks Chip for this beautiful message…it is so true! We are with Jesus right at this moment! God bless. Angelina

  • Greg Emery says:

    I believe that people have not come in real touch with what God has done for them or else they would have a pride in our God, that says like David did in Psalms 92:4 You Thrill Me Lord ! and in Psalms 122:1 Come and let us go to the house of the Lord. God is so absolutely amazing in His love and grace and we should have the desire to abide in Christ and His Word, all of the time. He is within us and all around us, as we represent Him. Our daily living is worship to our Creator, and we should be over joyed to come into His presence with other believers as well, such as in Psalm 100. As we abide more in Christ through fellowship, worship, His Word and communion, He very much will abide more and more with us and fill our cups overflowing. Overflowing for us and for us to share with others.
    Thank you Chip for your daily encouragements. The Lord’s richest blessings on you and your family…….Greg

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