As our new, real self in Christ emerges from the prison of years of false self-activity, we more and more realize that because Christ is in us we have no needs. We literally have “everything we need for life and godliness” (2Peter 1:3). That means, resident within our inner holy of holies, we possess love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, humility, faith – in short, all of the various fruits of the Spirit are already inside us and readily available to the man or woman who trusts the power of the indwelling Lord. He is Virtue itself, and we possess Him.
To work out this present-tense salvation into our daily life we do one thing: we abide. That means to trust, to rely on, to put all our faith in, and to rest in the Lord Jesus Christ – not only what He has done for us, but what has been done to us in Him, and who He is in us. We died on the Cross with Him; Romans 6 makes that clear. We were immersed into His death; the old man died. Still in Him in the grave, we were raised in His raising; the new man was raised to walk in newness of life. These are incontrovertible facts of the Word of God, and let no man “positionalize” them as if they are not actual, once-for-all realities.
So, as was said in parts I and II, we have no needs. Everything we need is there, waiting for us inside our spirits, where Christ dwells. He is our All in all.
That means we don’t need love or approval from other people. We don’t need others to respond to our love for them. And of course it is a process of trust and reliance, and of God using circumstances to discipline us, to get ourselves to the point where we see that.
All that said, we do need other people – especially those in the Body of Christ. The foot cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you.” We need others; not to give us an identity, but to point us to our true identity in Christ. We need others to point us back in the right direction when we are going wrong. We need mentors; we need our wives; we need our husbands, our friends, and even sometimes our enemies to make us realize who we aren’t, and who we really are. We need others to love us in the midst of our failures, so that by their love we are pointed back to the source of all love.
But this need for other people is not an emotional need for approval, or acceptance, or to feel good about ourselves; we do not need to establish an identity. We already have one in Christ. This need for others is largely corrective. It is a great help to have a mentor point us straight back to Christ as our Source, to point out where we are walking according to the flesh. Without others, we cannot be shaped, sharpened, or shined.
And further, we need others to love. God is other-centered; without others, we cannot learn to love God and love our neighbor. We can’t learn to love and forgive our enemies if there are no other people around us.
Other people give the atmosphere in which the love of God can be shown.
But we do not need them to give us an identity. We all try that road. We have all held other gods to our chest. Wife. Husband. Job. Talent. Temperament. Money. You name it, we’ve held it – even as long-time Christians.
As we burn those idols, grind them to powder, and throw them into the river of living water, we are given something much greater – the recognition of the true God sitting on the throne inside us. He has given us our real identity because He has given us Himself as our power Source, our Life, our All. We are complete in Him, and need no idols; we need no false sources of security or power or acceptance or identity, because we’ve been given all things, once for all time, in Christ.
Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he’s not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin’ on audiences around the world, he’s taking care of his donkey named “Trash” and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.