Easier said…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love words. Language. Meaning. Grammar. Syntax. Analysis. All things rhetoric. Sometimes understanding language on a more complex level gives deeper meaning to the words and their context. We use words to communicate with each other, and God uses His Word to communicate with us as well!

Louie Giglio

Our Discipleship Group has been spending time in Paul’s Letter to the Colossians this summer. We have been doing so with the assistance of a video of Louie Giglio through Right Now Media. During this particular session, the focus passage was Colossians 1:24 – 29. The Apostle Paul writes, “…God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (27). Giglio explained how he often thought of this Christian life as Christ AND me. He did the work on the cross, and now I will do the rest. When I get tired, I’ll tag Him, and He can help me when I need him. He explained how he needed to learn to surrender his will without stopping his efforts. There is a huge difference between AND and IN.

Christ tells me, “When you are at the end of your rope, let go! When you do, you’ll realize that I not only did all the work to bring you to God, I’m living in you to supply the power to allow you to walk in God.” When we let go of the rope of our self-trying, we can discover the fullness of Christ living in us…the greatest mystery.

Louie Giglio

And vs. In

While I was listening, I couldn’t help but put on my English teacher hat. There is an incredible difference between the words AND and IN. They are even different parts of speech! The word AND is a coordinating conjunction. The purpose of a coordinating conjunction is to bring together two things (words, phrases, clauses) that are equal in nature: two adjectives (tall and lean), two nouns (salt and pepper), two phrases (down the street and around the corner), two clauses (I will read, and you will write). Equal. If God’s plan was Christ AND me that would imply that I have some ability to assist Christ in the hope of glory… that Jesus Christ and I are equal in some way. Even if you don’t know Christ personally, you would at least know that we and Christ are not equals.

Christ IN me. The word IN is a preposition. A preposition shows the relationship between two things. I heard an elementary teacher explain it once as showing the relationship between the mouse and the chair: The mouse is ON the chair, ABOVE the chair, UNDER the chair… The mouse goes AROUND the chair, BEHIND the chair, THROUGH the chair. In our verse, this particular preposition demonstrates the relationship between Christ and me… Christ is IN me.

The grammatical explanation of the language used so clearly shows the meaning of the passage in a different way. Understanding the passage in a new way should also help us to apply Paul’s message.


Many years ago a fad emerged: What Would Jesus Do? I believe the originators of the wristbands and subsequent merchandise had good intentions, but good things often get overdone and become meaningless. If we are IN Christ as new creations, and Christ is IN us, shouldn’t we know what Jesus would do? I honestly wish it were that easy. We need to do His work. Read His Word. Be His representatives until He returns.

James Agrees

Occasionally I feel that I need to make an announcement at church telling everyone that they are welcome to stay, but this particular message is just for me. Our pastor is teaching the book of James right now which normally smacks me upside the head no matter how many times I read it, but this week was particularly on point. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says… As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (1:22, 2:26). The spirit is IN the body; Christ is IN me; deeds are IN the faith. Christians demonstrate love because we are Christians. It’s not deeds AND faith; it’s deeds IN faith.

so do Fanny Crosby and Zack Williams

Poets and songwriters have been reminding us to show Christ IN us by allowing Christ to work through us for centuries. Fanny Crosby wrote the poem, “More like Jesus” which was set to music and published in 1868.

“More Like Jesus” by Fanny Crosby

More like Jesus would I be, 
Let my Savior dwell with me;
Fill my soul with peace and love,
Make me gentle as a dove;
More like Jesus, while I go,
Pilgrim in this world below;
Poor in spirit would I be; 
Let my Savior dwell in me.

If He hears the raven’s cry, 
If His ever watchful eye
Marks the sparrows when they fall, 
Surely He will hear my call:
He will teach me how to live, 
All my sinful thoughts forgive;
Pure in heart I still would be;
Let my Savior dwell in me.

More like Jesus when I pray,
More like Jesus day by day;
May I rest me by His side, 
Where the tranquil waters glide:
Born of Him, through grace renewed,
By His love my will subdued,
Rich in faith I still would be;
Let my Savior dwell in me.

A mere 150 years later, Zack Williams writes and records “Less like Me.” He seems to be finishing Fanny Crosby’s thought. I don’t know if it should be comforting or frustrating that we Christians still struggle with the same concept of self-surrender generations later.

“Less Like Me” by Zach Williams

Oh, I have days I lose the fight
Try my best but just don’t get it right
Well I talk a talk that I don’t walk
And miss the moments right before my eyes
Somebody with a hurt that I could have helped
Somebody with a hand that I could have held
When I just can’t see past myself
Oh Lord help me be

A little more like mercy, a little more like grace
A little more like kindness, goodness, love, and faith
A little more like patience, a little more like peace
A little more like Jesus, a little less like me

Yeah, there’s no denying I have changed
‘Cause I’ve been saved from who I used to be
But even at my best’ I must confess
I still need help to see the way You see
Somebody with a hurt that I could have helped
Somebody with a hand that I could have held
When I just can’t see past myself
Oh Lord, help me be

Oh, I want to feed the beggar on the street
Love to be your hands and feet
Freely give what I receive
Lord, help me be
I want a friendship first above all else
Love my neighbor as myself
In the moments no one sees
Lord, help me be

Easy for them to say… right? Aren’t most things that are worth doing easier to say than to do? At least I know that I need not do what is right in my own strength. Words are easy… deeds are tough… sometimes incredibly so. Thank you Paul, James, Louie, Franny, and Zack for giving me the words to remind me to live out my faith while allowing Christ who is IN me to show through me to those around me.