Everyone who knew Joseph Leek felt sorry for him. He seemed to be one notch above homelessness – he wore second-hand clothes, refused to make repairs on his shabby home, and even watched TV at a neighbor’s house to save on electricity.
So imagine their surprise when he died and left an estate of almost $2 million. Joseph was wealthy, but you couldn’t tell it from the way he lived.
He’s not alone – one of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffet, still lives in the Omaha home he bought for $31,000 more than 50 years ago. Buffet could live in the world’s most opulent mansion, but instead he chooses to live in the five-bedroom stucco house he bought when he was just getting started.
Why would anyone who’s rich choose to live a life ignoring his wealth?
But before you decide that some rich people must have a screw loose not to take advantage of those riches, remember that lots of us do the same thing in our Christian experience.
Theologians call this positional vs. experiential truth. Positional truth is spiritual fact – it’s who you are by virtue of what Christ has done for you at the cross. Experiential truth is how you actually live – how many of those spiritual benefits you appropriate for your day-to-day living. So positionally, Joseph Leek was a millionaire; experientially, he lived in poverty. Positionally Warren Buffet is rich enough to own the world’s most lavish palace; experientially, he lives in a middle-class home.
So your bottom-line advice for Joseph Leek based on the positional truth of his wealth: “Joseph, you’re rich. Act like it. Use your money. Make your real life conform to your bank balance.”
Sounds like God’s challenge to us in verses scattered throughout the Bible: “I have given you a world of riches and benefits and spiritual blessings in my Son; act like it!”
One of the best ways to appropriate the truth of our position in Christ and to live in that truth experientially is to remind ourselves in prayer every day of who we are in Christ. Here’s an example – print out the list below and use it every day when you pray. As you thank God for what He has already done for you, you’re reminding yourself of the positional truth of your spiritual benefits. And that’s the best way to start living in the experience of the spiritual wealth God has given us in Christ.
So here goes…
Note: If you are believer, all of the following are true for you. You may not feel like it, or even act like it. In other words, these truths may not have been your experience. But they are nonetheless true. Pray that God will help you convert this positional truth into experiential truth.
Thank you, Father,…
…that because I believe in You, I am promised eternal life (John 3:16)
…that I have already been set free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
…that the grace of God has been given to me in Christ Jesus (I Cor. 1:4)
…that I am a part of the body of Christ (I Cor. 12: 27)
…that You manifest through me the sweet aroma of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus in every place (II Cor. 2:14)
…that because I am in Christ, I am a new person – old things have passed away, and new things have come (II Cor. 5:17)
…that because you made your Son to be sin on my behalf, I have become the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21)
…that I have been justified by my faith in Christ (Galatians 2:16)
…that I am a son [or daughter] of God through my faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26)
…that You have adopted me as your child (Galatians 4:5)
…that your Spirit inside me calls out to you as “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6)
…that I have been given every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3)
…that I have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world – to be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4)
…that I have been redeemed through His blood and have been forgiven of my sins (Ephesians 1:5)
…that You have “lavished” your grace upon me (Ephesians 1:7-8)
…that out of your mercy, you made me alive in Christ, saved me by your grace, raised me up with Him and seated me with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:5-7)
…that I am your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which You planned for me in eternity past (Ephesians 2:10)
…that I have been brought near to you by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 213)
…that I can do all things through the strength of Christ (Philippians 4:13)
…that You will supply all my needs out of your riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
…that You cancelled my certificate of sin-debt, nailing it to the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:14)
…that you disarmed the forces of the enemy arrayed against me and made a public display of them by Christ’s triumph at the cross (Colossians 2:15)
…that I can give thanks no matter what is happening, because that is your will for me in Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:18)
…that You saved me and called me with a holy calling, not because of my works, but according to your own purpose and grace (II Timothy 1:9)
…that I have received an anointing from you that abides in me (I John 2:27)
…that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4)
…that I know that I abide in You, and You in me, because you have given me the Holy Spirit (I John 4:13)
…that the Lord Jesus is now making intercession for me in Heaven (Hebrews 7:25).
…that I have an inheritance in Christ which is imperishable and undefiled and is waiting for me in Heaven (I Peter 1:4)
…that someday, I will stand before the presence of the Lord Jesus, blameless with great joy (Jude 1: 24).
These positional truths are in no way exhaustive – you’ll find so much more as you search the Scriptures.
But if you take a few minutes a day to remind yourself of what God has done for you in Christ, you’ll find that your Christian experience begins to change as you move from knowing the truth of your position in Christ to applying those truths to your everyday life.