From Self-Effort to Christ-Reliance

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. Even as Believers we embrace the false doctrine that we have to try harder and strive more to please God and to grow spiritually.

We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble seems to happen in “threes,” and we are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We think of these trials as building character in us and transforming us into the image of Christ; so we patiently continue to prod along making the best of every negative circumstance.

Most of us need a breaking point in our life in order to step over the line from self-effort to Christ-reliance. Therefore, trials are actually like the Law – designed to bring us to the end of our self and to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24-26).

God encourages us to take our focus off our competent human abilities or our mortal frailty, and to concentrate on the reality of Christ in us instead (Colossians 1:27; Colossians 3:3-4; Galatians 2:20).

As we do, we start to live a victorious life apart from human effort and understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We enter into rest in God’s presence, which provides us with deep inner peace and fulfillment regardless of our circumstances (Hebrews 4:10).

Jesus delivers us from the bondage of every negative emotion, wound and issue we experience, and brings us astounding joy which defies description and is full of His glory (1 Peter 1:8; James 1:2-18).

God’s Spirit helps us to see our problems as adventures rather than as challenges. Our supply for each circumstance, and the wisdom to deal with it come from Christ in us, our only hope for success (Colossians 1:27).

God orchestrates every nuance of our life. His abundant light overcomes the densest gloom. His power and majesty slay every demon in spiritual darkness, which comes against us (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3; Daniel Chapters 9 and 10).

As we decrease, He increases (John 3:30). We exhibit more and more of Christ’s divine nature and we never, ever leave His presence (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

His Spirit leads us moment by moment in the center of His will for our life, transforms our character with the nature of Christ, and replaces our carnality with the fruit of His Spirit (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, nothing this world has to offer can take the place of Your goodness and grace. When the issues of life become more than we can bear, we sit on Your lap and snuggle in the safety of Your arms. This provides us with a ring-side seat to view the seed for a miracle, which You place within every trial, as it sprouts into fruition.

You designed salvation so that abiding in Christ is accomplished by one swift act of total surrender. It may take a deep trial, a layoff from work, rejection from a mate or a week-end retreat; but when our soul finally yearns for You alone, we readily relinquish our will to Yours.

Thought for the Day:
We no longer work out our own issues in life using God’s strength to fuel our human effort, because we come to the realization that we can live life only as His Spirit leads each moment of our day and provides us with the desire, wisdom and strength to walk in the center of His will. – Philippians 2:12-13

The Glory of the Lord

God tarries His coming, not because He is slow to keep His promises to us, but because of His patience to allow everyone the chance to repent and believe (2 Peter 3:9, 13). As we draw close to God, His glory fills our life. We allow His glory within us to reflect to the world around us, as His Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God’s glory appeared in the pillar of fire and the cloud, which protected the Israelites in their desert wanderings, as well as the consuming fire on the mountain and on Moses’ face when he descended from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 16:10; 24:17; 33:22). God’s glory within us also allows us to face trials with victory and faith.

God’s glory within us is more precious that the finest gold, and is the result of a life spent reading His Word, obeying His Spirit and giving Him all praise, glory and honor until we see Him face to face (1 Peter 1:6-7). God’s glory fills the life, which has faith in His faithfulness, rather than bitterness over the past and fear of the unknown future (Isaiah 6:3, 40:5).

When we finally see Jesus, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him in His glory (1 John 3:2). In our Heavenly residence, we will live in our immortal body and enjoy the benefits, which Adam and Eve had in the garden, and which Jesus had after His resurrection. The rewards God has in store for us are everlasting and glorious, and we will finally attain to the fullness of Christ.

Prayer:
Father God, we pray that we will decrease, so that You can increase within our mortal body even now. We want to reflect Your glory as it increases within us. Remind us to surrender all of our cares to You, because You care about us, as well as everything, which pertains to us on this earth (1 Peter 5:7). Even in the face of persecution, strengthen us from within and keep us in the palm of Your hand (John 10:28). Thank You for giving us Your glorious new life through Your Son’s sacrificial death and resurrection.

Thought for the Day:
At the coming of Christ, the whole earth will be filled with His glory.
– Psalm 72:19

Connected to the Vine

In our first months and years after Salvation, we attempt to please God. I made a list of all the commandments in the Bible. No really, I did! I posted the list so I could read them and keep these laws every day. I wanted to earn God’s love. About ten years later, a Christian brother shared the truth with me that we do not need to earn God’s love, because it is a free gift (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).

He explained that God did not want an army of robots, but a Body of Believers who trusted in Him explicitly with every area of their life. About this same time, a saying became very popular, “Let go and let God.” This mantra encourages us to relinquish control of our life and to turn everything over to God (Proverbs 3:5-6).

When we stop molding our self, we give Christ room to shape us into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). This allows Him to reach everyone in our sphere of influence. He gives us His heart and He loves and serves others through us. We no longer live for our self, but Christ lives in and through us by His Spirit (Galatians 2:20). He is the Vine and we are the branches.

Branches do not produce any fruit; the Vine produces the fruit through each branch (John 15:4-5). In the same way, we do not accomplish great feats for God; He accomplishes His will through us (Ephesians 2:10). God fills us with His Spirit and we go where He wants us to go and do what He calls us to do. Our only effort is to surrender to the leading of God’s Spirit.

Prayer:
Father God, through our connection to the Vine of Christ, You fill us with the fruit of Your Spirit. You justify us by our faith in Your faithfulness, and You flood our heart and mind with Your peace (Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7). When this world frightens and discourages us, You flood our heart with Your peace, as we keep our focus on You, rather than on what occurs around us (Isaiah 26:3; John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
In this modern day of technology, we can easily blog and use social media opportunities to share the gospel of Christ throughout the entire world. – Mark 16:15

Create your own blog and spread God’s Word:
https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/1623800?hl=en