This morning as I was reading from my beloved Oswald Chambers, the following sentence gripped my heart, “God not only expects me to do His will but He is in me to do it.”
Through our new birth in Christ, we have been made recipients of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the very same Spirit that filled Jesus on the day of His baptism, the very same Spirit that breathed life into His cold, dead body in a tomb outside of Jerusalem. Listen to me, not a Spirit like the one who filled Jesus, the very same Spirit! The Apostle Paul so fully embraced this truth that He wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). With that in mind, Paul then wrote to the Philippians and said, “…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
I could quote many more passages that are filled with the same sentiment. What Oswald wanted his readers to understand is that, you and I, children of God in Christ, have not been called to live the Christian life in our own strength but to allow the God who lives within us to live through us.
The Old Testament is an ongoing story of people attempting to follow God’s Law and to live according to His will in their own strength. They, my friends, did not possess the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel spoke of a future day in which God would change the makeup of man’s heart through His Spirit, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statures, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
As New Creatures in Christ, we were never called to live for Him, to follow His will, by our own strength or will power. When we try to live for God in our strength we get worn out, worn down, and defeated. From that vantage point, God’s Law and God’s will look out of reach and become great burdens.
Listen to these words, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith” (I John 5:1-4).
When we are surrendering ourselves to the Lordship of Christ and living by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, keeping God’s commandments and submitting unto His will is not a burden but a great source of delight. Do God’s commandments and the call to follow His will look like a never-ending burden to you? If so, you are trying to live the Christian life in your own strength, not His! Yes, God does expect His children to do His will, but never in their own strength, He is in you to do it.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).