Two thousand years ago Israel waited for the manifestation of Christ. We are told that Simeon, a just and devout man, and Anna, a prophetess, both looked for Christ to appear in Israel. Though Simeon and Anna longed for Christ to be manifest in Israel, they could do nothing to make it happen. They had to wait in faith and depend on God for the promise to come to fruition.
The angel came to Mary and told her that Jesus would be brought forth through her: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). This was not to happen by her will, but by the will of God. Her part was to accept the word of God through the angel and wait in faith for the manifestation of the promise—the birth of Christ. There was nothing she could do to make it happen except wait and believe.
So it is with us. It is by waiting on God in faith to work in us and through us that Christ is manifest in us today. God did not send His Son to this earth to die for our sins and save us and then leave us to figure things out on our own and make salvation happen within us.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10, emphasis added).
Christ was manifested in this world by the power of the Holy Spirit: “And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’ ” (Luke 1:35).
So also, Christ is to be manifest in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel brought to Mary the opportunity of Christ being manifest to the world through her. Her part was to choose to let it happen and wait for the full manifestation to take place—in her case nine months.
The same is true of us. The New Testament teaches that Christ lives in the believer through the Holy Spirit. It is through receiving the daily baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus lives or abides in us. It is through Spirit baptism that He ministers in and through us, and manifests His righteousness through us.
The New Testament is very clear about the necessity of Christ living in us in order for us to have victory over temptation and sin—His righteousness manifest in our lives. Jesus used the imagery of the vine and branches to illustrate this truth:
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing’ ” (John 15:4, 5).
Paul taught this truth throughout his writings:
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).
“We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
If we choose to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and wait in faith for Christ to fill us, then He will be manifest in us His wisdom, His righteousness, His sanctification, and His redemption: “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).
Waiting on God for Christ to be manifest in us and for victory over temptation is the same as waiting on God for every other provision in life. God wants us to look to Him for victory. Of this Ellen White wrote:
“When His words of instruction have been received, and have taken possession of us, Jesus is to us an abiding presence, controlling our thoughts, and ideas and actions. . . . It is no more we that live, but Christ that liveth in us, and He is the hope of glory. Self is dead, but Christ is a living Saviour” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 389).
Do you see the beauty of this truth? Our part is to wait in trusting faith, believing God’s promise to manifest Christ and His righteousness in us. Our only part is to choose to let this happen and believe it will happen, just as Mary did. When unrighteous desires and temptations come, we are not to fight against them. We are to turn to Christ who is living within us and ask Him to manifest His own righteousness: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). Then we are to wait in faith, believing He will do it.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
1. Could Simeon, Anna, or Mary do anything to make the manifestation of Christ happen?
2. Describe in your own words how Christ is to be manifest in you today.
3. When you are tempted, how are you to obtain the victory?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. for God to revive you and His church.
3. for God to manifest Christ in your life today.
4. for Jesus to give you His victory when you are tempted to sin.
5. for the individuals on your prayer list.
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”