Power or Person?

I discovered why Christian service had been killing me. I already knew about the Holy Spirit; in fact, I had taught lectures about His ministry in our lives. But I always associated Him with power: giving me power to share Christ, power to understand the Bible, power to teach, power to serve. Of course, there is truth in that. But I was missing the single most important aspect of having the Holy Spirit ­ the fact that through Him I have received the very life of God.

As long as I associated the Spirit’s ministry only with power, the emphasis was still on me. My prayers were most often, “God, help me to do this activity.” God may have been providing some help, but I was still doing it. When I was doing it, there was no lasting joy or fulfillment, and eventually I reached a state of total burnout. Finally I learned that Christ did not come to “help” me serve God; He came to live His life through me! That is why Paul wrote:

‘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.” (Galatians 2:20)

Failing to hold onto these truths, the Christian world has become so frantic in its activity that it reminds me of the well-known definition of a fanatic: “A person who redoubles his efforts after he has lost sight of his goals.” Over and over we have witnessed the spectacle of people coming forward in a service to recommit their lives. In essence, they are coming down to say, “God, I’m really serious this time. This time I’ll do it if it kills me!”

To them I say, “Don’t worry. It will!” I know, because it killed me. We have simply not come to grips with the fact that it isn’t hard to live the Christian life. It’s impossible! Only Christ can live it. Our only hope is to learn that Jesus Christ did not come just to get men out of hell and into heaven; He came to get Himself out of heaven and into men!

Many Christians have been trying to ground out the Christian life on their own, resulting in failure. They cry out for God’s help. I respond; a dead man doesn’t need help. A dead man needs life!” Salvation is not just something that Christ did for us, but it is Jesus Christ Himself living in us.

By Bob George

From: Classic Christianity. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers. ©1989.

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