THE NESTING DOLL SHOWS US THE CHRIST LIFE.
To the faithful in Christ, and those who seek Him with a pure heart:
The "Christ-life" as I like to call it, can only be lived in the power of the Lord Jesus. And there is a simple little item we can look to for a good picture of this.
In Russia and other cultures of eastern Europe, I have seen and we have brought home from the markets what are called 'nesting dolls'. As I was reading Jesus' Word to us in John 15, 16, and 17 again today, these dolls came to mind.
These are clever creations, that are thin wooden shells shaped like chubby dolls, hand-painted on the outside with a human figure, and slit in half at the middle. When you lift off the top half, suddenly another doll is revealed inside, slightly smaller, which is made exactly the same and painted in the same motif as the outer doll, and when you lift off the top half of that doll, there is another exact in every detail, but slightly smaller, and so on. Often there are seven or even more dolls that grow increasingly smaller as you keep opening them. A very delightful gift, and unusually clever, and they've been made for many centuries.
As Christ Jesus revealed to His disciples the secret of the Christ-life He in essence showed them a life that is created by God, each person being completely unique, hand-painted and shaped. But each child is born hollow, and we will be filled with something as we live. Christ shows us that the Father designed us to be filled with Christ, through His Spirit. So, when people lift off our outward being, and see inside, they should see Christ. And when they lift off the outward being of Christ, they would see the Father inside Him.
The mystery deepens, however, and the analogy fails me at this point. Because Christ also told us that we will be in Christ, and Christ will be in the Father. So there is a "doll image" we can see that is reversed. When people look at the Father, and lift off His outward shell, they will find Christ, and inside Christ, they will find us. So we are also sheltered simultaneously within the Father and Son, and filled by the Spirit, our lives thus being "hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3) and only revealed to all at the end of time.
So we are in Christ, and He is in us, and we are in the Father, and the Father is in us. All by the power of the Spirit of God in us. What a wonderful, rich mystery, and one that ensures no amount of religiosity will bring us the Christ-life. It is purely and simply the working of the great power of God in us.
This is the life Christ describes to us in John. This is what He spent so much time on before His death and resurrection with his disciples, to lay the groundwork for the Spirit to build on after He was physically gone.
"Father, just as You are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You sent Me." John 17:20,21
When we come to Christ, this outward shell becomes a temple of God, and He dwells among men within us. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit live within us. And we live within them. But in order to have this happen, we must be taught the simplicity of it. We must understand that this is not done by our own religious work, or our own striving. Only God can fill us with Christ, and put us into Christ. That comes through dying to self, and living increasingly only for the Father and the Son.
Jesus told His disciples those last days that this Christ-life was beyond them at that point.
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears....He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you."
So the man without the Spirit cannot discern this Christ-life. Even the disciples could not discern it until filled with the Spirit, and out in the world living it. That is where God revealed more to them. We were given the rest of the New Testament Scripture to show us more, as Jesus said He would. They couldn't bear it before the cross and the resurrection. They ran away, and were weak and afraid.
After the resurrection, and Pentecost, where the Spirit came to dwell within them, and the 'nesting doll' of God the Father, God the Son and the Spirit living within us began, then the disciples understood what their Lord had been saying that night before His resurrection. Then they saw what He meant. And so they turned the world upside down, living that Life.
Paul gives us rich detail in his letters about this life. The Christ-life he talked about is just the Spirit's further giving to us of what is in Christ's rich storehouse. Now we have this life available, this great 'mystery of godliness'.
I am on this narrow road with others who long for the Christ-life, and are weary of trying to live the "Christian life" as given us today. Are you? Will you join us?
My prayer is for all of us to experience this Christ-life. I hope the 'nesting doll' will help us think rightly about where the power to live it comes from. We are in Christ, and He is in us.
The Christ-life changes everything.