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Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

As we follow Jesus through life, as sheep following the Good Shepherd from season to season, made new through baptism and renewed regularly at the table of the Lord, we are changed.

We are transformed through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2), we begin to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3), and we gradually stop dwelling so much on temporal things, trading them for focus on the eternal. And we realize, or gradually understand, that we are not alone in this life. Someone ‘has our back’, and also our front.

Christ leads us as a Shepherd while His goodness and mercy pursue us. In one of Isaiah’s visions he writes that “The Lord will guide you continually… and, “the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:8,11). This beautiful reality is the elevated life of each person ‘in’ Christ. He is behind us, before us, to the right and to the left. Jesus said, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you” (John 14:20). You are ‘in Christ’.

Paul told the people of Athens, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). And while he may have been framing an argument for a pre-Christian crowd about the reality of Creator God, the truth of these words is animated in the lives of believers who have been “… made alive together with Christ… and raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6 paraphrase).

This is your living reality now. Circumstances may appear otherwise, but if you allow the Holy Spirit to transform your thinking, to deliver you from preoccupation with the flesh, and correct your perspective, you will see that you now live in the presence of Christ, in the kingdom of God, in the ‘house of the Lord’, as the Psalmist writes, ‘forever’!

Dear one, the arms of God embrace you, the presence of Christ encompasses you. Be strong in Him, be confident in Him, be courageous in Him, for you are forever, surrounded.