Written by Cathy Schrock - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
Artist: Karen Harvey
Have you ever read Scripture, perhaps a familiar passage, and suddenly the Holy Spirit enlightens you to something that was hidden before? In reading through Jesus’ prayer for the believers in John 17, I was astonished at verse 19: “For their sake I sanctify myself [to do your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth” (Amplified Bible). In all my years of reading the Bible, I never let that part sink in. Part of God’s plan was for Jesus to surrender Himself wholly through obedience because He knew that all believers would be IN HIM, and His holiness would become ours.
So often I find myself striving, fighting, attempting to overcome this sin or that sin on my own. “If I can just stop ________, I’ll be a better Christian, and God will be pleased with me.” And yet this thought is the exact opposite of what we need to do. We need to rest in the work Jesus has already done, surrender to Him, and not strive to accomplish that work for ourselves.
“It is finished.” I have come to realize that my work, my striving to please God by my own wits or power, is what is finished. Jesus did it all on the cross once and for all, and now I cease my striving and rest by accepting His work for me. Now I only need to count myself dead to sin and alive to God and choose to live with Him daily. Watchman Nee, in his book entitled “The Normal Christian Life,” (1977, Tyndale House Publishers) put it this way:
“Man’s way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God’s way is to remove the sinner. For years, maybe, you have tried fruitlessly to exercise control over yourself, and perhaps this is still your experience; but when once you see the truth you will recognize that you are indeed powerless to do anything, but that in setting YOU aside altogether God has done it all. Such a discovery brings human striving and self-effort to an end. The normal Christian life must begin with a very definite “knowing,” an opening of the eyes of the heart to see what we have in Christ. You have died! You are done with! The self you loathe is on the cross in Christ. And ‘he that is dead is free from sin’ (Romans 6:7, AV).” (pg. 46, 47)
“Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:6, 11, NLT).
PRAY: Father, what a relief it is to know that You have done it all for us! Show us how to rest in Christ’s work lest we begin striving on our own.
LISTEN: “Jesus Paid It All” by Kim Walker-Smith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymkl0t0FOcw