Holding to Truth

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The Indwelling Christ – the Secret of the Christian Life

The indwelling Christ - the secret of the Christian life

Do you consider living the Christian life impossible?  It is—until you discover the secret.  This secret is not some methods or techniques but the indwelling Christ Himself—Christ living in you.

This light first dawned on me as I was reading the opening word to The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. With simple elegance, Nee points out how the Christian life is not only difficult to live, it’s impossible.

He declares that there is no one who can live a normal Christian life except the Son of God Himself. Then he presents in a marvelous way how, according to Galatians 2:20, the Christian life is “no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me.”

So in this post we’ll consider the indwelling Christ and how you can apply Him as the secret of your Christian life.

 How can Christ dwell in you? By being the life-giving Spirit.

 First Corinthians 15:45b says,

 “The last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving Spirit.”

 You might ask, “How is that possible? Jesus died, was raised, and ascended to the heavens. ” True.

But before going to the cross, Jesus also said that He was going away and that He was coming again. According to the context, this was referring to His going into death and His coming in resurrection to enliven and live in His believers (John 14:19-20).

He said that He would send another Comforter, the Spirit of reality to be not only with His believers, but to be in them (John 14:16-17). Then He immediately followed that by saying, “I am coming to you.” Finally,  in verse 20, He said,

“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me and I in you.” 

 That means that the Spirit of reality in you, is equal to Christ in you.

That’s because, in resurrection, Christ became a life-giving Spirit. This receivable Spirit can be likened to a cup of tea. The Spirit of God previously was only like “plain water.” But through Christ’s processes, the “tea” element of Christ’s person and work was added to the “water,” the Spirit, producing a compound Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19) as our bountiful supply.

This by no means alters the eternal co-existence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, it does mean that God, in His plan to dispense Himself into us, was embodied in Christ (Col. 2:9) and that Christ through the processes of  His death and resurrection became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) so that He can enter into us (Rom. 8:10).

So in the believers’ experience—the Spirit in you, is Christ in you. Since Christ has gone through such a process He is now available to enter into you and indwell you.

How can you receive the indwelling Christ?  Pray by faith.

The most precious result of our faith in Christ is that we receive Him into us.

John 1:12 says,

“As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name.”

 I’m afraid that with many Christians the thought of believing in the Lord Jesus may be associated with being saved from perdition, or hell, having their sins forgiven and spending eternity with Jesus after they die. But if we stop there we miss the most precious and practical result of faith in Christ—receiving Him into us.

Have you received Christ into you? If not, simply pray,


“Lord Jesus, I believe that You are God’s eternal Son, God becoming man. I believe that You willingly died on the cross to take away all my sins, and that after three days, You rose from the dead. Lord Jesus,  I receive You right now as my Savior and life. Come into me, live in me. I love You.”

 How does this indwelling Christ become the secret of your Christian life?

The indwelling Christ that you receive becomes the powerful treasure in you, as an earthen vessel.

Paul said,

 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7)

 The indwelling Christ becomes the power to live the Christian life, a life that we could never live on our own.  We simply need to stay connected to this power source.

The plug, or  the power switch is in our spirit. Whenever we’re separated from the Lord in our spirit, we’re powerless or defeated. But when we’re strengthened into our inner man, our spirit,  Christ makes His home in our hearts and lives the normal Christian life in us (Eph. 3:16-19).

So it’s good to come back to the “power source,” the indwelling Christ in your spirit,  throughout the day. That’s what it means to pray unceasingly–to stay connected to such an indwelling Christ (1 Thes. 5:17; 2 Tim. 4:22).

Simply call on the Lord Jesus to be strengthened into your spirit, so that this powerful, indwelling Christ can make His home in you and live the Christian life in you.

“Lord Jesus! O Lord, praise you that You are now the indwelling Christ in me. I can’t live the Christian life, but praise You lived such a life. Live your life again in me today. Lord, I love You. Keep me joined to You today as the priceless treasure in my spirit.”

If you’re enjoying the indwelling Christ as the secret of your Christian life, please leave a short comment to confirm with your experience.

 References and Further Resources:


About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

10 Replies

  1. I would add that even the slightest separation from Christ can cause us to be carried away from him.

  2. Amen! May we never try to live the Christian life separate from our real “power source”. When we do, we inevitably fail because our human virtues are limited. But He is unlimited, eternal! May we not strive to be law-keepers, but missing the living Christ as the Pharisees did, but instead be loving seekers of the precious One who lives within us. Then the Christian life goes from impossible to effortless!

    1. Robert sockett

      Is the indwelling Christ the Holy Spirit? This is a bit confusing

      1. Tom Smith


        In their existence we know that the three of the divine Trinity—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19) are all God, all eternal, all co-existing from eternity to eternity. More profoundly, the three co-inhere, that is, they exist within one another. We, like all genuine believers, firmly hold this great truth concerning the existence of the Triune God.

        Yet, at the same time, there is another side to the truth concerning the divine Trinity. That is the side of God’s economy for our experience and enjoyment of the Triune God. In God’s economy, the entire Godhead is embodied in Christ (Col. 2:9). Then through death and resurrection, Christ, as the last Adam was transfigured into a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b) This is so that Christ can live in us (Rom. 8:10; 2 Tim. 4:22; Gal. 2:20). This side of the subjective experience of Christ in us is little known to many believers.

        We should not be confused by such an apparent discrepancy, because the reality of God is far beyond our human understanding. God simply wants us to receive His Word by faith and enjoy Him as the Spirit indwelling us. The Lord Jesus disclosed this mystery to His disciples in John 14:7-20. I would encourage you to prayerfully read over the verses cited in this reply. I believe that you would also find great help in reading them along with the footnotes in the online Recovery Version.

        Please let me know if you found this tool helpful or if you have further questions. But simply put, in our subjective experience of His indwelling, Christ in us is identical to the Holy Spirit in us. We simply need to enjoy this wonderful One as our life and everything! Thanks for your comment.

  3. Robert Sockett

    I have sought the Lord for many years and at times his love has sustained me and life was effortless as you say. When I hear his voice I am enlivened. I have spoken prophetic words to people that made them cry in wonder and also made me cry. He has performed miracles in my life and in my church. How I wish I could have that effortless life at all times, but I don’t. My life is good I have a great church and a loving family, but when God touches you or someone thru you it is like time stands still and goes faster all at the same time. I beg for that tiny touch and pray for it but it doesn’t always come and sometimes I don’t feel his presence strongly. Any thoughts on how to relate to Him in a way that will prolong his presence?

    1. Tom Smith

      Our human spirit is the Lord’s dwelling place within us (2 Tim. 4:22; Rom. 8:10). So if we want the Lord’s presence, we need to turn from our mind to our spirit, our deepest part. The simplest way I know to touch our spirit is to call on the name of the Lord Jesus (Rom. 10:12; 1 Cor. 12:3). Then we need to go on to use our spirit in prayer (Eph. 6:18). When we touch the Lord’s heart in our prayer, we may sense a particular anointing, or moving, of His Spirit in our spirit. This sense of the Spirit is a kind of confirming that what we are touching something on the Lord’s heart. However, we should still maintain a regular times of prayer even when we do not have such a strong sense of the Lord’s anointing because such regular times of seeking His face in prayer, afford the Lord the way to come in to touch us. I encourage you to read the sequence of post under the prayer tab on this blog. for more direction. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Beverly

    I found your article doing a search for
    the indwelling life of Christ. I am just now learning this truth, though I have been a committed believer for many years. I am finding this truth to be a great comfort. Instead of praying and trying to reach heaven, the power to live the life of Christ dwells within me. I keep thinking about the mustard seed, although I don’t know if it fits. Christ in me can become larger as I decrease and He increases in me. Is that kingdom of God parable applicable like that?

    Why do you think so little has been taught about this? Isn’t it the key?

    1. Tom Smith

      Yes, Christ living in us is really key to living a normal Christian life. Otherwise, it is merely self effort which invariably ends in failure. It’s the difference in the experience of Romans 7 versus that of Romans 8. When we turn to indwelling Christ who lives in our spirit by calling on His name (Rom. 10:12-13) and praying to fellowship with Him, He grows in us and empowers us to live the Christian life (Phil. 4:13). A more applicable parable might be that of the sower in Matthew 13. Christ sows Himself as the divine seed through His word into our hearts which then grows in us and bears fruit—some 30, 60 or even 100 fold. We just need to pray to till the ground of our heart so that Christ can grow in us without hindrance. I’m afraid that few believers grasp the importance of this truth possibly because of preoccupations with religious duty or trying to do good by their own efforts. Possibly some are looking for miraculous power instead of the enjoying Christ as the indwelling life. Thank you for your comment.

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