under a special agreement with
presents Explorers Series 1
under a special agreement with
Lesson 12: God's Greatest Gift
God has done so many wonderful things for me. He has forgiven me of all my sins. He has made me a new person in Christ. In this lesson we are going to learn how to live this new life in Christ.
Being a child of God is the most wonderful thing in the world, but the Christian life will not be easy. Our heavenly Father knows this, and He has a gift for us to enable us to live a life that is pleasing to Him. It is God’s greatest gift to His children.
What is God’s greatest gift to us? His greatest gift to us is His Son! God has given Christ to us, to live in us. The Bible says, "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts…" (Galatians 4:6).
Christ Himself is in Heaven, but He lives in us by His Spirit. The apostle Paul said, "Christ lives in me!" You and I can say this too. Say it right now. "Christ lives in me! Christ lives in me!"
Who is this Jesus Christ who lives in me? Christ lives in the heart of every believer, but not every believer knows who Jesus Christ really is.
Jesus Christ is God. Because Jesus is God, He knows all things. He always knows what is best for me. No one knows me better than Jesus and no one loves me more.
Jesus Christ is the One who meets all my needs. God meets my needs by giving Christ to me, to live in me. The Bible says, "My God shall supply all your need…by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Christ is my Beloved. I need love. Christ loves me with all His heart. His love is the best love of all. He lives in me so He is always with me. I am His forever.
Christ is my Wisdom. When I need wisdom I should turn to Him. He lives in me and He knows exactly what I should do. When in doubt about doing something, ask yourself, "Would Jesus like to see me do this?" If you do not think He would like to see you do it, do not do it!
Christ is my Peace. The Bible says, "For He is our peace…" (Ephesians 2:14). No matter what happens, I have peace in my heart because Christ is my peace.
Christ is my Joy. The Bible says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, rejoice." We are not always able to rejoice in our circumstances, but we can always rejoice in the Lord.
Christ is my Patience. In myself I do not have much patience with other people, but Christ has come to live in me and He is my patience.
Christ is my Strength. The apostle Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). We can say this also. Say it to yourself, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Say it again.
The Lord Jesus is my special Best Friend. He wants me to love Him, to obey Him, and to turn to Him with all my problems. But I have an enemy inside me who does not want me to do this. This enemy is called "the flesh" or SELF.
When I became a Christian, I thought I would always love God and want to obey Him. But I discovered that something in me does not want to obey God. What is it? It is called, "the flesh."
The “flesh” is not my body itself, but my sinful nature that dwells in my body. If you spell the word “flesh” backwards and leave off the “h,” what do you have? You have S-E-L-F. The flesh is SELF!
Before I received Christ as my Savior, SELF was on the throne of my heart. I committed many sins. I was not happy when I lived to please myself.
When the Lord Jesus came to live in my heart, I was so happy! I loved the Lord and I wanted to always please Him. But I soon discovered that SELF was still with me. SELF was still in my heart, and SELF wanted to continue ruling. When SELF is on the throne of my heart, I am sinning and I am not happy.
Do you talk ugly to your parents or teachers? When they tell you to do something, do you obey them with a good attitude or do you fuss and complain and disobey them? Do you sometimes take things that do not belong to you? This is the sin of stealing.
Do you tell lies? God hates all sins, but He especially hates the sin of lying. Our enemy Satan used a lie to deceive Eve and get her to disobey God. The Lord Jesus said that Satan was a liar and the father of lies. All lies come from Satan.
Do you hate anyone? Do you lose your temper and say mean and hurtful things to others? Are you proud? God hates the sin of pride.
Sin hurts us and it hurts other people, but the worst thing about sin is that it hurts God’s heart because He loves us so much.
My biggest problem is not what other people say or do to me. My biggest problem is myself! SELF will always be my biggest problem. When SELF is on the throne of my heart, I am living the SELF–life. I will not be happy, and there will be many ugly sins in my life.
SELF is an enemy which dwells in my body. I am a new person on the inside, but I have the same body. My body is called "a body of sin" because sin dwells in it. As long as I am in this body, I will have to deal with this enemy—SELF. God says that SELF must be crucified—put on the cross and kept there. The Bible says, "They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh [SELF]…" (Galatians 5:24).
Even though SELF is always with me, I do not have to let SELF rule over me. The Bible says, "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body…" (Romans 6:12). The Lord Jesus gives us victory over all our enemies. The Bible says, "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).
When I choose to make Christ King in my life, Christ is on the throne of my heart, and SELF is on the cross. This is the beginning of a life that is pleasing to God—the Christ–life.
The “Christ-life” is Christ living His life in me. When Christ is on the throne of my heart, He lives His life in me.
In myself, I do not love others, but Christ does. In myself, I do not have patience with others, but Christ does. In myself, I am not gentle and kind, but Christ is. In myself, I am selfish, but Christ is unselfish.
When Christ is on the throne of my heart and SELF is on the cross, people can see the beautiful life of Christ in me. They will see love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, obedience, and a good attitude instead of the sins of my ugly SELF–life.
Which life do I choose?
The throne in my heart is not big enough for two. Only one can sit on that throne. Either Christ sits there or SELF. Do I choose Christ or SELF? Do I choose the Christ–life or the SELF–life?
I choose the Christ–life by making Christ King of my life, by saying, “NO!” to SELF daily, and by letting the Lord Jesus live His life in me. The Christ–life is living to please the Lord Jesus.
The apostle Paul was one of the most victorious Christians who ever lived, and he has shared with us the secret of his victorious life. Paul said,
"I have been crucified with Christ: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Read the verse above out loud. Isn’t that beautiful! Write it on a piece of paper and say it over and over until you have memorized it. Now let us see from this verse the four steps in living the Christ-life:
Know that you died with Christ. "I have been crucified with Christ." This is God’s way of dealing with my old life. God put me in Christ on the cross. When Christ died, I “died” with Him. In God’s sight, that was the end of my old life. When Christ rose from the grave, I “rose” with Him as a new person in Christ.
Know that Christ lives in you. "Christ lives in me." This is true of every believer. What happened when I became a Christian? I “received Him.” Christ came to live in me. Christ actually lives in me right now! Nothing could be more wonderful. I have found Someone I like better than myself. I want to live for Christ, not SELF.
Take SELF out of the way. "It is no longer I who live." Christ wants to live His life in me, but something gets in His way. What is it? It is SELF! What is the solution to this problem? The solution is to take SELF out of the way so Christ can live His life in me. If I love Christ more than I love myself, I will want Christ to be seen in me, not SELF.
God says that SELF belongs on the cross, and Christ belongs on the throne of my heart. I agree with God. I say, "Lord Jesus, I am Yours because You bought me with Your precious blood. The throne of my heart belongs to You! I am here to love You, to obey You, and to please You every day of my life."
A little girl named Carol had received Christ as her Savior when she was very young. When she was ten years old she longed to be a happy Christian. Her father spent much time with her, teaching her from the Bible. He showed her that the only way of victory over sin and SELF was by accepting our death with Christ and letting Christ live His life in us.
Then Carol made her decision. It was a decision that changed her life forever. She wrote in her Bible:
"I truly died with Jesus, and I put away my old Carol on the cross with Him. I choose to live by His life, and for Him, all my life. Not I, but Christ." She truly lived in victory.
Count on Christ, who lives in you. "The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Christ is everything I need! My life has changed since Christ came to live in my heart. I had a bad temper. I could not overcome it. Now I turn to Christ and say, "Lord Jesus, I am counting on You to take care of my temper." He takes care of it. I had a bad attitude. Now I obey my parents and my teachers with a good attitude. I am a new person in Christ and Christ lives in me. He is the Faithful One. I can always count on Him.
I have found the secret of living the Christian life. What is it? It is saying “NO” to SELF and counting on Christ to live His life in me. I say, "Lord Jesus, I love You with all my heart. I want You to live Your life in me. I am counting on You to do this today and every day of my life."