“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
– Philippians 2:13
This is one verse I have been constantly reminding myself of lately. I’m the type of person that always feels the need to prove (even if just to myself) that I can defeat or conquer or complete something on my own.
What strikes me about this verse is the critical reminder of my total dependency on God.
Nothing points this out better than the battle against sin.
It is only because God is working in my life that I can be victorious over sin at any degree. But it’s not only that – without Christ, I don’t even want to resist my sin. In the old kingdom ruled by me and my sin, I did, thought, watched, and listened to whatever I wanted. However, when He made me His own and took over the throne of my life, Christ gave me a new desire to follow Him, as well as the capability of living a life that is a sacrificial offering pleasing to God.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is past away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God….” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a
Resisting sin is not easy. Even as Christians redeemed by God, we catch ourselves constantly struggling. Will we give in to our own desires, or will we run to Christ and beg Him for the strength to obey and glorify Him?
There will be sins in our life that we feel have too strong a pull on us to resist, or that are too difficult to overcome. In those moments of acknowledged weakness, cry out to God. Lean on Him. He never wants us to try and conquer our sin on our own – because we can’t. Instead, Christ desires that we would cling to Him and take Him up to His promise that He will give us the strength to overcome:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
We were never commanded to “grow up” and graduate to a place where we are independent of God.
I am continually realizing that this desire to be independent and self-sufficient – stemmed from our pride – so often hinders us from living truly dependent on God for life and godliness.
This is especially evident in the area of prayer. We don’t pray because we don’t think we need God. And yet, if we were truly aware of our inability to glorify God and defeat sin by ourselves, we would be on our knees crying out to our Saviour so much more:
“If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: ‘God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.’ When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage.”
– John Owen
If I am not in constant communication and continual communion with God, I will give way to sin.
I can’t overcome sin on my own. I can’t glorify God through my life on my own.
I don’t even desire God on my own.
I need to be constantly reminded that I am totally reliant on Christ’s strength for every aspect of my life. God gives me every ounce of strength I possess to resist sin and depend on Him.
My total dependency and reliance on Christ is the only way I can hope to live a life that glorifies God, to be sanctified more into Christ’s likeness, and to be delivered from sin and death.