The Apostle of Union and Love (Part Two)



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Galatians 1:11

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.


A good friend of mine is a health coach. Sometimes we sit down together over coffee (a matcha latte with unsweetened almond milk, in my case), and I never fail to learn something new. My friend often reminds me that becoming healthy is not only about learning new ways of caring for my body and mind. It is also about unlearning old ways I have treated my body and mind—ways that may have seemed right and natural but ultimately led to a lack of health. For me to get healthier, he says, some old ways of thinking, some old habits, will have to die.

I imagine that Paul had plenty of learning and unlearning to do when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. There Paul was, lying in the dust, in the presence of the risen Jesus. His mind was probably racing to match this revelatory experience he was having with everything he had studied about God all his life in the Old Testament scriptures. In a grand, sweeping reframe, the kind that only a revelation from the Spirit can bring, Paul was seeing everything he knew about God and his people in a new light.

And that’s what revelation from the Holy Spirit does—it surprises us, takes us off guard, and schools us in a new way of seeing the world. We see old things we once knew coming back to us with new life. We see old ways we were clinging to needing to die. We see truths we had never seen before with delight and gratefulness. With the written Word of God as our guide, the Holy Spirit delights to gift us with special and very personal moments of insight, of epiphany, of revelation—as the Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13) through the changing seasons of our lives.

In Galatians 1:11, Paul declares that everything he knew about the gospel (which includes how God relates to us and how we relate to God) he learned by revelation from Jesus. All the stories he held dear about God’s covenant bond with Israel, about God’s hesed (loyal, unwavering, steadfast) covenant love toward Israel, were reframed by this encounter with Jesus. He would go on to write from the heart of this revelation from Jesus in the letters of the New Testament. Passages like our Prayer for Union and Love in Ephesians 3:14–21 shine from within with the teaching of Jesus. Paul learned about our union with God in Christ and about the nature of God’s love toward us, from Jesus himself.

So should we.

I believe we live in a constant need for Jesus to school us, time and time again, in what it means to live in union with him and within the bonds of new covenant love. For example, when we imagine God to be distant and outside of us as we pray, to be pleaded with and begged to move on our behalf, are we missing what it means to have the Spirit of Jesus and his love indwelling us? Do we quietly put Jesus at arm’s length in our worship services out of our insecurity about what it might mean if we actually embraced his invitation—as a local church—to participate in the love and life of the Trinity (John 17:20–23)?

I know that I have some learning and unlearning to do about being united with Christ and about what real love actually means. I believe that, like Paul, we all need fresh moments of revelation from Jesus along the way to shake us and wake us from our spiritual slumber. We need Jesus to meet us in our wrestling, to reveal old, unhelpful ways of thinking about God’s work within us that are ultimately impeding our spiritual health.

I, for one, am ready to learn again at the feet of Jesus. Paul got his ideas about being “in Christ,” and about the nature of love in 1 Corinthians 13, by revelation from Jesus himself. With a humble heart and a willingness to learn, we’ll now turn our attention toward Jesus’s teachings in the Gospel of John so that we might better understand what he means when he says, “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20).


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. I thank you for how kindly you have revealed yourself to me through the years and taught me new things about your heart for me and your love for me. I am ready to learn at your feet. Teach me. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


Can you remember a moment when the Holy Spirit revealed to you something you needed to learn? Can you remember a moment when the Spirit revealed to you something you needed to unlearn? How are you different because of that revelation?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. For me personally, the realization that I had to rethink church and my role in it did not happen in a sudden epiphany such as Paul’s Damascus road experience. It occurred over a lengthy but consistent time span, through a series of life altering situations. In fact, I’m in that process right now in another such situation. I’m depending on guidance from the Holy Spirit to be able to help some other believers who I’m in close fellowship with, to understand why some radical changes based on a return to a more “organic” form of church, will be required if they want to participate in God’s mission to expand His Kingdom here on earth. In my opinion, the status quo of institutional church practices won’t cut it, if we expect to experience another Great Awakening.

  2. “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20).
    Joined together in spirit, we become more than followers; we are buried in Him, and He is in us. Jesus has risen in us as we arise in Him.
    When we receive Jesus as life itself, we are the new creation, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians.

    2 Corinthians 5:17
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

    And, since we are new and the past has passed, why do we struggle with the old?
    Aw, the evil one at work. If he can keep our eyes on the rear-view mirror, it’s hard to move forward.
    Christ in me, and I in Him—a double binding, abiding. We trust as if life depended on Jesus and obey as if life depended on us. We draw resources by abiding in Jesus; we draw inspiration to use those resources by His abiding in us.
    The double dip of Christ.

    Staying 💪’ n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong IN the Lord and IN His mighty power.

  3. Once when I was begging God for answers, the Holy Spirit released these words in my heart: “The answer is: you have the answer.” In a flash I realized that I didn’t need more religious explanations and dry information. I suddenly knew that all I needed to do is to continually focus on and follow Christ’s inner promptings and be enamored by His presence inside of me day by day. What marvelous peace, joy, insights, and miracles that releases!

    An angry and hostile religious man was traveling the road to Damascus to arrest Christ-followers and take them to jail. Suddenly he encountered the risen Jesus. In a moment of insight, epiphany, and revelation his attitude was completely changed. He surrendered to the risen Jesus and began to listen to and obey Him moment-by-moment for the rest of his life. His writings are part of the bestselling book of all time and have released supernatural revelation within untold millions of people throughout the centuries. Have they revealed the risen Jesus to you and compelled you to daily pursue Him with all your heart?

    Two discouraged and depressed Christ-followers were walking along the road to Emmaus, when the risen Jesus came by and began to walk with them. They had spent a lot of time with Jesus, knew Him well, and had even heard that He had risen that very morning, but with all that information about Jesus, they didn’t recognize His presence.

    As the risen Jesus spoke with them, His words began to burn in their heart. When they arrived at their destination, they invited that “stranger” to come in and spend more time with them. They asked Him to sit down with them and offered Him food. As He broke the bread, they suddenly realized who He is, and He vanished from their physical sight. They were instantly filled with the unspeakable joy of the spiritual revelation, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” and went running to tell their friends about the living Jesus. Have you experienced such a revelation that makes you run to tell people about it?

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