Friday, March 8, 2013

Wanting to - don't make it so

"I'm gonna live every moment of my life for Him. I'm gonna hold onto His hand."

"I won't rest until I've made myself like Him...."

I can't count the number of times, the number of people I've heard utter statements like these. Their desire is - as is mine - to live for Jesus. 

The problem with these kinds of statements is that in spite of how heartfelt they are, how well-intentioned they may be, they are doomed to failure. The truth is, there is no possible way that any one person can persevere that much, hold on that tenaciously, or make him or herself like Jesus. No. Way.

"Without Me," Jesus informed His disciples, "you can do nothing." 


I heard someone recently stand in front of the group of people I was in, and tell us what church members "should" be doing - the attitudes they "should" have and how they "should" make their mark on the world. What this person was describing was absolutely ... impossible. No amount of human effort can produce the truly joyous and free experience known as the abundant Christian life. 

If it were possible to do this by ourselves, Jesus would never have had to die.
It's BECAUSE we can't live the way He wants by ourselves that we need His grace in the first place. And once we experience that grace to change our spiritual DNA, do we really think we can say, "I can take it from here, God..."??

Like the southern gospel song says, "I can't even walk without You holdin' my hand." 

No really, I mean it. If I had to depend on MY holding on to HIM ... I KNOW I wouldn't make it. If I could do anything - anything at all - then I would have something to boast about. And I don't. I couldn't. It would all be wood, hay, stubble. Those are the things done in the flesh: things done using human effort. 

And they won't stand up to the flame of His passion.  The works HE does in us are the only ones that will last. They are the gold, silver, precious stones that will endure...

"The Cross and the Hand" courtesy of njaj at
I can WANT to live up to the shoulds and oughtas until the cows come home - whatever that means. The point is that even though I might be able to sustain "good behavior" or "a witness" for a little while, it would be exhausting.  

You want to know how I know? 

I tried - for decades!!! Out of experience, I can honestly say that I just don't have the strength to sustain it - to endure in every circumstance. So wanting to - doesn't make it happen. At least, not consistently. Paul knew this struggle. "The good that I want to do, I don't do. The evil that I don't want to do, I end up doing. Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7)

It's in leaning on Him, depending on His moment-by-moment unmerited favour and presence, that I can grow in grace. 

That doesn't come from me. 

It just doesn't.  It comes from utter dependence on Him. That way, if anything good happens - I know it's His doing.

No comments:

Post a Comment