Through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has become our source of spiritual life. This is great news since only He can live the Christian life, and He wants to do it through you and I. But how do we position ourselves for that to happen?
Recognize Our Helplessness
The first thing we absolutely must do is recognize that we cannot live the Christian life. If we could live for God in our own strength, living by the Law would have been sufficient. All the Law did, however, was reveal to us our complete inability to live for God. No matter how high the aspirations, or how firm the resolve, we are simply unable to make it happen (see Romans 7). We will experience continual defeat until we recognize this fact. Once we get a firm grasp on this, and give up on our self-efforts, we are well on our way to victory. This is what being poor in spirit is all about (Matthew 5:3). (Go here to read Frank Viola’s excellent article on the five reasons he gave up trying to live the Christian life.)
Recognize Christ’s Sufficiency
Having recognized our helplessness does not mean we now throw up our hands in despair. It means we look away from ourselves and look toward the total sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is completely and totally capable of living His life in and through us. Let’s consider some Scriptures together.
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily… Colossians 2:9 ESV
The word fullness here refers to the sum total of all the divine powers and attributes. There is no deficiency in Christ whatever. What does that mean to us?
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16 ESV
The minute we are joined to the Lord in spirit (1st Corinthians 6:17), we become partakers of all that He has and is. We are literally blessed with every spiritual blessing through our union with Christ (Ephesians 1:3). The result?
So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:10 NLT
Through our union with Christ we lack for nothing. In Him we possess all things that pertain to life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3). No matter what the situation or circumstance, we can literally do all things through Him who is our strength (Philippians 4:13).
Trust Him Moment-by-Moment
Having recognized our total helplessness and His complete sufficiency, we must put our trust in Him every moment of every day. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote that he lived by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). It starts by completely abandoning ourselves to Him, believing His way is always right and best. His is not going to live our lives and His both. We are here for Him to live his life in and through us. Then we look to Him to respond to everything we encounter throughout our day. The results are surprising!
A Personal Experience
Can I quickly share a personal experience? As Christians we are supposed to be known by our love (John 13:35). However, some people are easier to love than others. There was one group of people I could not seem to love no matter how hard I tried. I would firmly resolve to love them the next time I saw them, but to no avail. I would be irritated within a few minutes of encountering them. Ugh!
This went on for a while until I finally got fed up. I walked up to the Lord and said, “I quit! I cannot love these people no matter how hard I try! If they are going to be loved, You are going to have to do something because I quit!” At that moment it was almost like I heard the Lord say, “Thank you!”
Something happened the next time I encountered these people. I didn’t get irritated. It was like I was looking at them through different eyes. We actually ended up becoming quite good friends! The Lord Jesus was more than able to do what I could never do in and of myself when I simply surrendered and put my trust in Him. Many similar stories could be shared regarding different people and circumstances. What wonderful Lord!
Dear one, this is path to the truly victorious Christian life. This is the way to truly live in the Reign.