How many of us have tried to live this Christian life in our own strength and failed at every hurdle? In our zeal and lack of understanding we have thought that we could attain the goal by more prayer, Bible study, fasting or good works, only to find ourselves still trapped in failure to live Christ-like. I cannot use my works as a currency to buy grace. We arrive at the desperate position that the apostle, Paul, came to and echo the very same words he uttered on his journey to understanding the depravity of the human heart in his attempt to live the Christian life in his own strength, (Romans 7). God brings us to the same conclusion as Paul: Romans 7: 18-19, “For I know that in me, (that is, in my flesh), dwells no good thing, for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I cannot find. For the good that I want to do, I don’t do: and the evil which I don’t want to do, I do”. We can all identify with Paul’s frustration here. Disappointment or disgust at my failure to be a better Christian can only lead to depression if I focus on it. The desire for change is birthed in me by the Holy Spirit. He places the desperate desire for change in my heart. I cannot change myself. When I cry out like Paul, (Romans 7:24) “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” , I am ready to receive the life changing truths found in Romans 8, that teach us how to walk after the Spirit of God, instead of walking after the flesh life.
Humility is key. I cannot walk in the Spirit unless I bow to Almighty God at the place He requires surrender. The divine exchange for everyone of us is at the place God requires us to echo the words of His beloved Son, “……nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done”, Luke 22:42. The counter is different for all of us. God will make clear where our altar lies if we mean business with Him.
Progress requires change.
The message of the revelation of the glory of God does not depend on me. It depends on Him – Christ in me, the hope of glory! “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery…..which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
God requires my weakness in order to demonstrate His strength through me. The only requirement is a surrendered vessel that He may choose as, and when, and however He wants to. Thus His power can flow out through me for His divine purposes, (not mine), and the credit/glory is all His. The power is OF Him, flows THROUGH me, and the glory goes back TO Him – of, through, to, – all glory to His great name, not mine. God will not give His glory to another, it is rightfully His alone.
In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus prayed, “….for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:13. See how God has placed His power safely between the two, for the extension of His kingdom, for His glory. Many a man has tried to wrestle God’s power out of that safe position. He has wanted it for his own glory and suffered the consequences thereby. God will not give His glory to another.
My inabilities and failures are the very qualifications God requires to demonstrate His power and the resurrected Life of His Son through, (see 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31) . The message of the glory of God depends on Him, not me. I find myself without excuse now. I cannot just say, “Well, I can’t do it!”, because He has made a way, that Christ in me can! As I surrender to Him in my weakness and bow to the Holy Spirit in humility, I find the power of the resurrected Christ flowing through me, the life of Another! The life of Christ can flow unrestricted in me when I do not block the channel with self. To God is all the glory, His is all the credit – and mine is all the benefit, hallelujah! My benefit is a heart at rest with my Maker, enjoying His joy and peace. Here I find God does not want to improve me, He wants to replace me with the divine life of His Son. Christ must increase, I must decrease.
My sin is refusing to bow to what God has spoken. I can bow and choose to believe what God has said, making the way for God to work with change and progress, or I can excuse myself and continue in the same old way, believing the same old lies staying in the bondage of my choice, when He has offered me freedom. The world would say: “It’s a no-brainer!” Choose this day who you will serve! My wrong choices will keep me from inheriting my birthright in Christ – all the promised fullness of God.
Be encouraged – the desire for Himself that God has placed within my heart, was birthed of Him, for His glory. With God all things are possible. Jesus never fails! He will lead me, but I MUST follow. Romans 8:14 “As many as are LED by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” In order to be led, I must yield, and as I do so I find the glorious life of the indwelling Christ comes forth through me in resurrection power, giving glory back to the Father. His ability enables me to live this Christian life! Christ in me, the hope of glory!…….and as I yield I discover the sweetness of surrender until it becomes a lifestyle. It is up to my daily choices if I allow the Lord to do a quick work, or take a lifetime to mature……but with God, surrender is always in the present tense, the “now”, because our circumstances are ever changing.