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Friday, January 26, 2024

Striving



 

There are two ways to strive or work. One way is with the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit. The other way is in our own strength. The first surrenders to the righteousness of Christ that is ours. The second 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. Not what God thinks. What we think is carnal. 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 worth. We come to God on Christ’s worth. He is the way, the truth, and the life. The only way to experience God’s acceptance and approval is by understanding spiritually who we are in Christ. To be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

 

But, sometimes, don’t we strive and work for God 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 strive on our own strength, 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 strived with God’s guidance and power. He proclaimed the Gospel out of His right standing in Christ. He knew He had nothing to prove to God. Christ had already proved him righteous. Paul knew that there was nothing more to win. Jesus had already won for him every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Paul lacked nothing in Christ. He had all he needed within him. He drew on the truth of the power the Holy Spirit had given him. 

 

When you strive mentally, emotionally, and physically out of your own resources, you will become mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Christ, the hope of glory, has come to live within you (Colossians 1:27). You have already received the power of the Holy Spirit. Still, you must surrender your mind and your thoughts to His mind and thoughts—your way to His way—your opinions to His truth—your circumstances to His promise. These must be submitted to His truth to experience His power. God is all-powerful but He has given you the authority to use the power He has given you (Luke 7:8, 9:1). You lack nothing in your right standing in Christ. You already have everything you need. You draw from God’s resources within you. 

 

“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.

 

You work out your salvation and conform to it by the renewing of your mind with God’s truth (Romans 12:1-2)—not by striving to prove yourself worthy to God. When your mind conforms to the truth of who you are in Christ—that He presents you holy and blameless to God (Colossians 1:22), the word of faith is heard in your heart (Romans 10:17). You have no need to prove what Jesus has proved out of His unconditional love for you. You believe in God’s truth. You know you can draw upon God’s power. You labor out of the righteousness Christ has earned for you. 

 

Working without faith is death. Working out of your faith in Christ is life (James 2:20-22). When you draw by faith on the truths of who you are in Christ, you experience His life empowering you. You walk by faith and not by sight. You believe what you cannot see. And you speak life into what by all human understanding appears dead.

 

*******

 

“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). 

 

© 2024

 

www.lynnlacher.com/2024/01/striving.html

 

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