January 8 I Sunday
“...for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose.” —Philippians 2:13
A while ago, I was speaking at a well-known Bible college in the United States. At the chapel service of about 1,000 students, I began by saying, “There is no one here this morning who can live the Christian life. There is no student that can live the Christian life. There is no faculty member who can live the Christian life. There is only one person who can live the Christian life and that is Jesus Christ, and He comes to live that life in you.”
I then spent the next thirty minutes explaining why and when I finished, a student came up to me and said, “I want to thank you for saying what you said this morning.” I asked, “Why is that?” He answered, “I have been struggling with my Christian life and decided last week that I was going to quit this college and go home on Friday. I came here to prepare for the Christian ministry and decided to quit my plan of going into ministry. I will probably give up the Christian life too.”
The student continued, “My Christian life doesn’t work. It’s been like pushing a bus up a hill. I almost did not come to the chapel this morning, but came late and sat on the balcony. You said, ‘There is nobody here that can live the Christian life’ and I thought, ‘Well, I can’t, but there are a lot of good people here that can.’ Then you said, ‘no student’ and ‘no faculty’ and I thought you were being rude, there are great students and faculty here. But then you said, ‘There is only one person who can live the Christian life’ and I thought to myself, ‘I hope you are not going to say it is you’ but you said, ‘Jesus Christ.’ I have been a Christian for a number of years and suddenly, it clicked. I have been trying to live for Jesus, which is like pushing a bus up a hill and you said, ‘There’s an engine in us. Enjoy the ride!’” We often do not understand this point until we are ready to quit.
The best moments in the lives of people in the Bible are when they say, “I can’t do this,” like Peter, who said, “I will never disown You” (Matthew 26:35), but did a few hours later and wept bitterly. This was the best moment in Peter’s life because he discovered six weeks later, on the Day of Pentecost, that it was the Holy Spirit living in him that could.
There is only one Person who can live the Christian life and Jesus gives His Spirit to live that life in us.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, forgive me for trying to live the Christian life on my own when the only way I can live the Christian life is through Your Spirit in me. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Your Spirit.