Sunday, March 8, 2015

Trusting, not trying

The Christian life;
You can do it!
Do more!
Be more!
Try harder!
Reach your potential!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
The motivation will last about as long as the emotion… not very long.

The freeing truth is that you can’t do it, and neither can I.  Frogs can’t fly.
Some claim that Jesus was raising the bar in the sermon on the mount, because “grace demands more.”  Religious horse hockey!
Jesus was raising the bar in the sermon on the mount, but He did it so that those depending on their performance under the Law would come to the end of themselves, give up, and start looking for a savior.

Paul learned this lesson in Romans 7: 

“Up to this point, every time he failed, he made a new resolution and redoubled his willpower.   At last he discovers there is no use in his making up his mind any more, and he cries out in desperation: ‘O wretched man that I am!’  Like someone who awakes suddenly to find himself in a burning building, his cry is now for help, for he has come to the point where he despairs of himself.
“Have you despaired of yourself, or do you hope that if you read and pray more you will be a better Christian?  Bible reading and prayer are not wrong, and God forbid that we should suggest that they are, but it is wrong to trust even in them for victory.  Our help is in him who is the object of that reading and prayer.  Our trust must be in Christ alone. … Hitherto he has looked for some thing; now his hope is in a Person.  Hitherto he has looked within for a solution to his problem; now he looks beyond himself for a Savior.  He no longer puts forth self-effort; all his expectation is now in another.”
Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life

Jesus paid it all.
The solution is to quit the self-absorbed navel-gazing, and turn our eyes upon Jesus, depend on him, and trust him not only for salvation, but for sanctification also.

“We have spoken of trying and trusting, and the difference between the two, believe me, it is the difference between heaven and hell." 
Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life

I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  Gal 2:20

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  Phil 1:6