Have you ever noticed whenever you make the decision to “do the right thing” you end up having more trouble than you had before you decided to “do the right thing”? Maybe you approached someone with whom you were not getting along seeking reconciliation for the relationship. Only to discover the other person accused you of being a terrible person and spread rumors about you among your mutual friends. Maybe you have a bad attitude at work and you decide to obey God by doing your work with all your heart as unto the Lord, as if you were serving Jesus himself. Then, a month or so later, you lose your job. Perhaps you are a mom and you decide to quit your job and to stay home with your children. You begin participating in homeschooling them right on through high school. Then, your seventeen-year-old daughter gets pregnant and starts living with some man.
These kinds of things happen to real people all the time. It is one of the most distressing facts of life, just because you decide to do the right thing does not mean that good things are automatically going to happen to you while the bad things in your life will not happen and suddenly cease to exist. In spite of what many media preachers and numerous local churches will tell you, there is no promise from God that if you do the right thing, good things will happen to you on earth. In fact, the Bible tells us to expect the very opposite. As Jesus said to his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble.” On the other hand, as Peter says, “Don’t be surprised brothers by the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you.” Knowing all of this, many of you will spend ten, twenty even thirty years of your life trying to figure out why something has not worked in your favor in life. You have prayed, and fasted, you have done everything you know how to make things better, when all along, all you had to do was relinquish “YOU” and lean on God. Leaning, now that is a lot easier said than done.
Learning is a lifelong process and I am learning that it is okay for me to have weaknesses. When I am weak, that is when the strength of God really shows up and shows out. His superior divinity is a perfect match for our frail humanity. It is in our weakness that we are strongest and with every failure, we come closer to success in Him. I know that may sound a bit corny, but is the reality for the Christian who totally depends on God. However, what many of us have done is benched Jesus, and put ourselves in the game. We have relegated Jesus to the sightseeing passenger in the back seat on this excursion through life while we take the wheel thinking we know how to drive, guide and maneuver along this journey.
Do you trust Jesus as He lives in you, do you realize any victory you experience only flows from Him, from His life. Nevertheless, you keep trying to do better without Him. John 14:6 clearly points to Jesus Christ as our life source. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” In Him is life, and His life is the light of men… He is the resurrection. Dependence upon Jesus is probably one of the most important truths we must understand. The Apostle Paul explains this very well in Gal. 2:20. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Why do so many of us find this so difficult to comprehend, why are there so many of us afraid to trust the God that lives in us? Could it be we have been drenched in religion, and now as a result we are convinced that it requires our effort in order to make things happen? Religion has inundated your thinking with, “Jesus needs me to do something first. After all, God helps those who help themselves.” This is probably one of the most often quoted phrases that cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. In actuality, it originated from Algernon Sydney in 1698 in an article titled Discourses Concerning Government.
You must learn how to live from the life of Christ inside of you, everyday—not just when you get in trouble. Christ indwells all born again believers and empowers them as their roots grow down into Him. He said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Jesus explained in John 15:1 that He is the vine and that if we stay connected to Him we will draw from His strength the way a branch draws strength from a tree. Without His strength, we will fail. If we do not abide in Christ, he does not remain in us and we stop growing. When a vine stops growing, it stops producing so without Jesus there is no fruit essentially the branch is dead and will eventually fall off. His promise is “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”
Those who try to work independently from Christ are relying on their own efforts and not on Him. In order to succeed we must rely totally on Christ and not on our own strength. Do not wait until something is so overwhelming that you have no choice but to turn to God. You will have small success from the things that you do. However, our very life hinges upon our dependency in Christ for the strength to endure. We patiently bear troubles without complaining, believing that “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
Depending on Jesus is necessary to bring glory to God. According to Scripture, those who do not produce fruit are not true disciples of Christ. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8). Therefore, depending on Jesus is to trust him entirely for salvation apart from works done in our own strength. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” (Prov.3:6)
Our faith in Him will be evident by our obedience, which we also depend on Him to complete in us. If you are to condition and discipline yourself in anything that you do, discipline yourself to depend on the life of God inside of you.
Now get in the back and let Jesus drive.