There are two ways to strive. One is with the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit. The other is with our own strength. The first way surrenders to the righteousness of Christ that is ours. The second way works to prove its own righteousness. The first way is life. The second way is death.
“There is a way that seems right to a man,” Solomon said, “but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
What appears right to our natural minds, is what we think is right. And what we think is carnal. And to be carnally-minded is death (Romans 8:6).
“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus said. “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
We don’t work our way to God on our own merit. We come to God on Christ’s merit. He is the way, the truth, and the life. The only way to experience God’s acceptance and approval is by understanding spiritually who you are in Christ. And to be spiritually-minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
Yet, don’t we sometimes strive hoping that God will accept us—hoping for God to forgive or heal or bless us—not realizing if we would labor out of the right-standing we already have in Christ, we would experience His life and peace? If we would strive with His power working in us and not our own, wouldn’t we live the truth of the new person He has made us?
“To this end I also labor,” Paul wrote, “striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29).
Paul only strived with God’s guidance and power. He shared the Gospel out of His right-standing in Christ. He knew He had nothing to prove to God. Christ had already proved him righteous.
Christ, the hope of glory, has come to live within us (Colossians 1:27). We are new persons in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). You have God’s power but you have to surrender your mind—your natural thoughts—your way—your ideas—your circumstances—your issues—your opinion—everything to the righteousness that is yours in Christ.
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6).
It is His righteousness that saved us and His righteousness that works in us—not our own.
Quit striving to prove yourself worthy to God. You work out and conform to your salvation in your mind (Romans 12:1-2). Then you can labor out of the status Christ has earned for you. Working without faith is death. Working out of the faith that is yours in Christ is life (James 2:20-22).
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. May the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 20, Hebrews 13:20-21).
© 2022 Lynn Lacher