**This devotional was originally written for and posted on shortdailydevotions.com
One of the most important things you and I can ever remember is that the Christian life is lived from the inside out.
In actuality, all people simultaneously live on two different planes of life. We live in the physical world, taking up physical space, and moving around and speaking and acting within it. On the other hand, we live in the spiritual world, willing, thinking, choosing, perceiving, believing, and feeling within it.
Though unseen by the eyes of the body, the spiritual world is no less real or influential than the physical one. Actually, it’s more so.
The reason we must keep this distinction in mind, is to not fall for the natural propensity to confuse the two planes. If we don’t keep them distinguished in our thinking, we’ll actually confuse the whole meaning and way of Christianity.
Let me explain.
CONFUSING WORKS WITH LIFE
By keeping the planes of life distinguished, we remember that Christianity is lived from the Spirit of God and not the body of man… From the plane of faith, not the plane of works.
We must understand that Christianity is not lived by externally following a code of ethics. It’s also not lived by keeping a code of ethics with a nice attitude or frame of mind. It’s also not lived by determining to practically love people and be like Jesus.
These are “shoulds.” Christianity isn’t lived by externally pulling off what we “should” do.
Shoulds are not Life. They are religion.
They result in people looking at us,
not at Jesus.
And you and I—nor our love—can save
CONFUSING SIN WITH BAD BEHAVIOR
When we remember that Christianity is lived from the spiritual plane, we begin to realize that sin is the result of what is happening within us.
“Bad” behavior on the physical plane is the natural byproduct of sin on the spiritual plane. Nothing more.
Changing behavior doesn’t mean the Christian life has been achieved. Changing behavior on the physical plane doesn’t mean sin has ceased.
Behavior void of the power of God… this is what sin looks like on the physical plane. Whether that behavior looks ugly or pretty.
Real godliness is accompanied by the power of God, which is his perfect Love. (2 Tim 3:5)
Sin, then is separation from Love (not because we actually are, but because we think we are). Sin is internally forgetting God’s perfect Love for us. Sin, then, is not living in God, who is Love. Sin is forgetting who we are to God. Sin is forgetting what we are in Christ. Sin is living in the wilderness of craving perfect love but fearing we don’t have it and doubting we do.
CONFUSING SALVATION FOR THEN
When you and I mix the planes, and don’t distinguish the physical from the spiritual, we have a tendency to think of salvation as a thing for “then.” Or later. Or after this life.
Heaven only seems reachable after this life. Living in union with God only seems possible then.
So we relegate Heaven to later, and good behavior as our mode of life for now.
But oh. We live on the spiritual plane, where God lives. We have the Spirit of God himself residing within us. We have access to Heaven through Christ Jesus at every moment.
In fact, living in God is our salvation. It is now, as it will be then.
Friends, you and I enter God—abide in Love—when we actually quit life from this plane—from these external resources—and internally call on Jesus to come rescue our spirits and bring them to God. (John 15, Rom 10).
This is why, after David had his affair with Bathseba, he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10,12)
David didn’t ask God to alter his actions. David asked the Lord to rescue him.
Yes, he asked for the joy of salvation. The joy of rescue. He knew he’d exited the House of the Lord. And he desperately wanted back in.
Yes, this is the joy of salvation. And from this place, power—that is, divine Love—flows out of us and into the physical plane.
Yes, here is our Christian life.