I want to share a completely freeing and encouraging thought with you…
It’s more than a thought. It’s the truth.
You are not finishing by the strength of your flesh what He started by the work of His Spirit (see Galatians 3:3).
If you did not and could not save yourself, you are not going to make yourself look like Him either.
Lest we forget, this is a work that He has promised to finish (see Philippians 1:6).
He is the potter.
We are the clay (see Isaiah 64:8).
Clay has never molded itself.
Likewise, you do not have the ability in and of yourself to form His attitude and heart within.
We work out our salvation with fear and trembling, but this is only because He is at work in us (see Philippians 2:12-13).
It is an awe-inspiring thing to realize that God is in me and that He is conforming me in every way to the image of His Son.
The last thing I would want to do is interrupt, disregard, or treat with contempt such a holy thing.
Does this idea that God is finishing what He began then give us the right to be flippant, uncaring, irresponsible, and casual around how we live?
Such a reality humbles us, causes us to love Him more, and surrender more deeply.
After all, it is your surrender that He wants.
It’s the very grace of God that first saved me and has now become my teacher. It instructs me and empowers me to deny ungodliness and to live righteously (see Titus 2:11-12).
And when faith kisses this truth, we will find our souls to be at rest.
Please read this again and again: It’s His grace that first changed you and continues to change you. You cannot punish yourself or beat yourself up enough to merit change.
Self-affliction cannot alter your appetites or your compulsions. Only God can do that.
There is no amount of self-loathing, introspection, and self-effort that can do what only the grace of God can do.
This is not about your strength or your might… It’s about God’s Spirit (see Zechariah 4:6).
Our only part in this is to say, “Yes, Lord.”
We yield to His work.
We trust Him to father us and to show us what we need to face or deal with.
And we confess what we need to confess and make right what we need to make right.
True transformation is never the byproduct of self-examination. It’s the result of a good, long look into the face of Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Too often, because we care, we feel so violated, ashamed, and condemned when we mess up. The natural, learned tendency is to try to fix or change what we did through our own might.
But I’ve learned over the years that I’m just not strong enough.
There is much I’ve sought to overcome on my own.
There is no amount of counseling or self-help or medication that can do what only God can do.
At best, we manage our struggles through such mediums, but they never really leave. The appetite might be curbed for a while, but underneath it all, it still lurks.
It’s in the letting go, submitting to God, and believing in His ability in you that you will discover genuine, lasting change.
This, dear readers, is freedom.
This, my friends, is the good news.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries