Encapsulated in Christ
Words surely ignite the imagination. Though it is utterly impossible to completely conceive of God’s love for us, we can use concepts and comparisons to attempt a better understanding. Consider the many times the Good Book uses the phrase “in Christ.” The first verse of I Thessalonians begins with “…to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Just like the faith of a teeny mustard seed can move mountains, so the little word in can move your mind and heart. Consider some in synonyms: surrounded by; encapsulated; included/inclusion; inside; incorporate
Now think for a minute when you are mixing up a big green salad. You start by chopping the greens, sprinkle some chickpeas or orange lentils, dice up some red pepper, zucchini, whatever you find in your icebox. Then comes that little dab o’ scallion, complimented by some sweet blueberries in season, or dried cranberries otherwise. Makes your mouth start to water, doesn’t it?
Then what do you do? You drizzle your favorite vinaigrette and toss it, mixing until every bite becomes a savory sensation, no longer individual ingredients but entwined - contained - incorporated into a new, richer culinary experience.
That’s just what it’s like to be IN Christ. You are melded with the triune God, the Father, Son and His Holy Spirit. You are encapsulated in Christ. Enclosed. Encased. Enveloped. Wrapped like a fleece blanket on a cold winter night.
Now you can look at that from conflicting perspectives. You can either wiggle and squirm and kick and scream, shouting, “No! Don’t suffocate me! I want to live my life my own way on my own terms. I want to have and to do what I want, when I want.” Sounding shamefully familiar? Well, you’re not alone in your rebellion. The perfect visual of our rejection of our Lord’s loving care is found in both Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34: “How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” We’re all rebellious little chicks.
Alternatively you can calm your mind and spirit before your gracious Father in gratitude and surrender, knowing the Good Shepherd gave His own life for you, his beloved sheep. You can cast all your cares on Him, let go of anxiety, fear and anger, and like a beloved chickadee, tuck snugly under His wing.
Celebrate and take comfort in being encapsulated by your gracious and merciful Father, shielded by the envelope of His Spirit. Surrounded by His love, protection and guidance. Incorporated into the Family of God. You, a sassy scallion, bitter by yourself, have become part of a savory, spiritual salad.
Praise be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ, who died that we might have new life.
Live Well, IN Christ.