“THE FACTS OF THE MATTER”
“A weekly letter of encouragement to business and professional men and women.”
“THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO LIVE OUT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE: GOD’S WAY OR THE HARD WAY”
I am involved with some eager young men who areattempting to follow hard after Christ…in their own strength. Gutting it out with clenched fists. These are highly motivated and disciplined young men who assume that with enough dedication and determination they can win over their sensual desires, their pride, their spiritual failings.
In truth, there is only one person who can live out the Christian life: Jesus Christ. And he desires to do it through us – if we will just let him. St. Paul clearly understood this profound truth:
“ My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us…” (Gal. 2:20a; Rom. 8:37b – NLT). (See Jn. 15:4 – 9; Rom. 13:14; Cor. 4:10, 11; Phil. 4:13; Col. 1:17; I Thess. 5:10)
I suspect this a truth that only the Holy Spirit can teach self-directed, self-assured type A’s. In our arrogance, God may allow us to hit the wall to get our attention. Learning to allow Christ to live out his life through us is the difference between shimmying up a greased pole and gliding with the wind like an eagle.
The good news is that God has provided at least five other resources to empower us to live victoriously :
1. The eternal purposes of God that are working in us to conform us into Christ likeness: “… In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…” (Rom. 8:28, 29b – NLT). (See Phil. 2:12, 13)
2. The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit: “… Because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin…” (Rom. 8:2b – NLT). (See Jn. 6:65; 7:38, 39; Rom. 8:10, 11)
3. The liberating power of God’s word: Jesus: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31b, 32, 36 – NKJV) (See Heb. 4:12, 13).
4. The intercession of Christ and the Holy Spirit for us:”[Christ] is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us…The Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words…” (Rom. 8:34a; 8:26b – NLT). (See Jn. 17:20-24; Rom. 8:27; Heb. 4:15, 16; 1 Jn. 2:1)
5. The armor of God: “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). (See 2 Cor. 6:7; 10:3-5; Rom. 13:12; Eph. 6:11-17; 1Thess. 5:8)
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
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