The promise of Jesus to give us “a rich and satisfying life” is at best an elusive dream for most believers. (Jn. 10:10b – NLT) The reality is that most professed followers of Christ are mired in chronic defeat and joyless despair as echoed so powerfully by Paul, “ I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate…I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Rom. 7:15, 18, 19 – NLT). Peter serves as exhibit A. In his pride:
He grudgingly accommodates Jesus’ suggestion to recast his nets, only to have his nets tear from the abundant catch. (Lk. 5:4-11)
He lectures Jesus on God’s will for his life, only to be rebuked as “Satan.” (Matt. 16:21-28)
He superciliously informs Jesus that he, unlike the other disciples, will in fact not deny him, only to be crushed by his spectacular cowardice. (Mk. 14:22-31)
Peter’s problem, like ours, is that we, in our unbroken pride actually have the audacity to think that with enough discipline, self-determination, prayer, and self-denial, can gain victory over our sin. Not so says Jesus: “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Lk. 18:27b).
Andrew Murray reminds us that “ the cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you. And that cannot be. You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work…” 1
As Annie Flint – a woman severely afflicted for 30 years with arthritis penned, “ When we have exhausted our store of endurance; when our strength has failed ere the day is half done; when we reach the end of our hoarded resources, our Fathers full giving is only begun.”
QUESTION : Have you come to the abject end of yourself, and in deep repentance relinquished your pride? It is only then that you and I will begin to experience His grace and sufficiency; His power and His victory over our sin.
SUGGESTION : If these truths strike a chord in your heart, you may want to prayerfully work your way through the following Scriptures:
“ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose…I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being……That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 2:13; Eph. 3:16b, 19b, 20b).
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
1 Humility and Absolute Surrender”Andrew Murray – Hendrickson Publishers, 2005, pg 113