Do you struggle with temptation or fear or with just serving the Lord?
Would you like to find a break through to more dynamic Christian living, a deeper and closer walk with the Lord Jesus? I certainly want that. About a month ago I was reading J. W. Phillips’ excellent book Pursuing a Divine Life in Chapter 12 “Getting God’s Grace,” when I read on page 210 a quotation from John Hunter’s book Limiting God:
… my daily Christian life is a moment by moment experience of receiving Christ. Whatever problem, fear, anxiety, temptation, or frustration comes into my life, it isn’t my job to meet it. My job is to expose the whole situation to Christ Jesus the Lord, and then to walk believing that what he has promised he will also perform.
Every believer has Jesus Christ within, dwelling there permanently via the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote it eloquently:
“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 faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20, NASB).
Jesus Christ within us is a powerful force.
Paul explains in this verse that he died with Christ (when He was crucified, see Romans 6), and now Jesus lives within him. So that the life Paul was living he was living by faith in Jesus the Son of God. He drew his strength, not from himself, his old man, or his flesh. He placed no confidence in himself but looked to Jesus for the power to live for Him (Hebrews 12:2; John 15:5). I decided to try it out. So the next time one of the old familiar temptations came against me, I remembered this teaching, and I prayed, “Lord Jesus, I can’t resist this on my own. I’m asking you to face this temptation for me.” Of course, I have to choose not to yield to that temptation; it is my choice and responsibiility, but my faith is in the Lord Jesus, not myself. By faith I draw on the power of Jesus Christ to choose to turn decisively from it. In my faith I am looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Death to Temptation
Right after that, that potent temptation lost its power, like a popped balloon losing its air. It was dead. Since that victory over a difficult temptation, I have been praying that prayer in so many words whenever I know I am approaching a situation when the temptation is likely to occur. Again success! That He may be All I had previously read a similar point in F. J. Huegel’s also excellent book Forever Triumphant (on page 55):
To the degree in which it is not I, but Christ, will the Christian be swept along by the heavenly stream of victory…Victory means a day-by-day and a moment-by-moment life of full surrender and obedience to Christ, a willingness to be nothing, that He may be All…
Andrew Murray agrees. He once wrote
A believer can encounter and strive against sin in two ways. One is to endeavor to ward it off with all his might, seeing his strength in the Word and in prayer. In this form of conflict, we use the power of the will. The other is to turn at the very moment of temptation to the Lord Jesus in the silent exercise of faith and say to him: “Lord, I have no strength. You are my keeper.” This is the method of faith. (In Search of Spiritual Excellence, page 88.)
What a blessing! “…by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption…” (Corinthians 1:30, NASB). He is all that and much more, and He is in us right now, just as we are in Him right now (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17). And we can, at any moment, by faith draw on His power, His grace, His help–and He will go to bat for us.
So when temptation comes knocking…
I ask Jesus to answer the door.
Have you had or come across insights that brought break-throughs in your life?