Union with Christ



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. 

Ephesians 3:14–21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


When our young family moved into our first home, we were ecstatic. It was very small, but as the old saying goes, it was a palace to us. I remember my wife and I standing in our tiny living room, realizing what had just happened: We bought a house! We were the king and queen of our very own little castle!

Ready to move in, we had boxes waiting outside and our friends gathered to help. We felt so thankful—and we were eager to get settled in.

We were about to inhabit the house.

Nothing about that house would ever be the same once we made it our dwelling place. My wife’s sense of decor would transform the barest room into a sanctuary of rest and peace. Pictures would cover the walls, reminders of our family members and what was truly important to us. Once we were fully moved in, the house became like an extension of us. The rooms were expressions of our life together. That address marked the spot where our days, nights, love, learning, and joy were shared.

In the first part of Paul’s prayer, in verse 17, he prays: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” What does this part of the prayer mean?

New Testament scholar Ben Witherington writes this: “Paul is praying for the continuing presence of Christ within the Christians through faith. The verb katoikeō signifies literally to make a home or to settle down and so has in view a more permanent presence.”1

With this insight in mind, the verse means that Jesus has moved in—and it takes the eyes of faith (Heb. 11:1: “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”) to continually see it. This is a prayer for an intimate awareness that Jesus is abiding in us by the Holy Spirit; inhabiting our hearts in a way that is as real and as true as my family inhabiting that house.

Paul is harkening back to the teaching of Jesus in John 14 and 15, where Jesus speaks boldly about the human heart becoming the place in which the Father and the Son will make their home (John 14:23). The Spirit will live within us as in a temple (John 14:17; 1 Cor. 6:19). Jesus will be in us, the Father will be in Jesus, and Jesus will be in the Father (John 14:10–11, 16–17, 20).

Jesus has moved into the house of your heart and made it his home. It takes faith to believe this and to live from this unseen reality. But the more our faith grows, the more experience we have with Christ living his life through us (Gal. 2:20), and the more we see what is actually happening. Jesus has made his home in us. He is inhabiting our hearts. Our life belongs to him, and his transformation of the place is being seen everywhere (1 Cor. 6:19–20). You might say that Jesus gets to rearrange the furniture.

A short form way to say that Christ is living within us, inhabiting us, is the word union. We are living in union with Christ. This a word we’ll use time and time again to refer to us living in Jesus, and Jesus living in us. And from that union, God is reshaping our personality, our desires, and our lives to conform to the likeness of his Son (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18).

What if we allowed Jesus to do a true conversion of our heart, mind, and even body? What if we believed that when Paul says that the mystery of the gospel is “Christ in you” (Col. 1:27)—is true? What if we awakened, arose from our spiritual slumber, by the words, “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5), and began to live as the habitation of Jesus?

You and I were made to abide in Christ, and to have Christ abide in us (John 15:4–5). This is where the adventure begins.


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. I want to become, more and more every day, the place of your habitation. Change me as you will, as I learn what it means to live in union with you. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


What other metaphors come to mind when you think about Jesus living in you, and you living in Jesus? Pause now and ask the question: How has my life changed since Jesus moved in?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 


  1. Ben Witherington, The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 2007), 274.


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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

2 Responses

  1. What is another metaphor for my union with Christ through faith? I think of myself being used as a living conduit whereby my life, actions, and speech can be utilized by Christ Jesus to pour out his love and grace into the lives of others. The overall purpose of this is to facilitate the expansion of the Kingdom of God, His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

  2. Christ in you is supposed to be an ongoing reality. We are called to be transformed into His image from glory to glory as we behold the Lamb of God, surrender our will to His presence, and make room for Jesus to live in and direct our life by His Spirit moment by moment. Jesus living in you is more than any metaphor can explain. The Holy Spirit wants to teach us to be continually aware of His presence and to promptly obey His inner promptings.

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