My Strength vs Christ Jesus

[Article from Restoration Pathway Vol. 1, Issue 1, a Light Searchers newsletter]

Some years ago, when I was about 17 years old, I was at home with my mom, and my little brother in the quietude of the suburbs. It was a beautiful day with the windows opened as well as the back-sliding glass door. Everything was quiet and calm. Suddenly the quiet was interrupted when we began to hear commotion in the neighborhood. Without warning a young man appeared in our back yard at the sliding back door in the living room. He began tugging and pulling on the screened sliding back door to allow himself within the house, but my mom instinctively held the screen tight. While respectively saying “No, no” ever so calmly.

Standing in the dining room I witnessed what was happening. I rushed over to the screen door and it was obvious the lock was broken. Yet my mom continued to push and hold tightly to that screened door while I closed the sliding glass door. But before the sliding glass door could be closed the young man began telling us about how one of our neighbors was crazy who began screaming at him without cause or reason. He was also brandishing a pistol which he held in his hand no doubt in hopes of encouraging us to open the screened door. Thankfully he left because the door was closed.

Have you ever noticed the enemy of the Lord enjoys launching his attacks on us when we least expect it? It may not be true for you each, but for my life, it has been much like this – when I least expect an attack it happens. It is the reason why we are counseled to be fully armored [ReferenceEph. 6:10-18.]  and watching always for the enemy of the Lord may attack us off guard at any time. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.

I die daily…. How often I have wondered about this phrase. In fact, I have pondered how salvation and the death of our character is required to be a daily experience. But today while cleaning I pondered on my ways, and I found myself to still have the same malignancy called sin. Do you find, like myself that there are times where we neglect to apply Christ in our lives? Also, I find myself often reflecting on the refining process as it is quite amazing me as we have a God who is long suffering and patient with us while we are yet still clueless to many of our own inefficiencies.

But one might conclude that if we know we are failing without Christ, we should through faith be able to correct our course, our choices, our methods before we begin to fail. In observing my walk, there are reactions as well as inactions in the way I attend to things in life. It is these things that I often find myself in need of change. Indeed, they are most often the little details in my life which so often contain erroneous thoughts and practices which I am unaware of.

“The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin…. It is one of Satan’s most successful devices to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the requirements of God. Many would shrink with horror from some great transgression are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But these little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul.”That I May Know Him, 252:2.

Another observation that I ponder on is forgetting or neglecting the little things in life. Perhaps you too may see how the cares of this world over shadow some of our thoughts, choices and actions? It was at this point Matthew 11:29 was recalled “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

So, the remedy is not only to learn and look to Christ Jesus but to also examine ourselves before Him. It is this very work that educates and leads us to look at how He lived upright, trusted, prayed, socialized, cared and loved deeply for others. When you reflect on Christ we discover how precious it is to learn He was personally invested in each one of us! His investment in us involves His time spending listening to us, watching over us, and caring for our future by attending to our needs today.

It has been my experience that when Christ Jesus lives and dwells within, we will find a way of life that differs from ours. A life that causes us to grow and learn even in the very smallest of details of our lives. During this process I came across the following quote:

“But since his (Paul) change of heart he had gained a clear conception of the mission of the Saviour as the Redeemer of the entire race, Gentile as well as Jew, and had learned the difference between a living faith and a dead formalism.” Acts of Apostles, 190:1.

Though I believe I am living faith I know that it is not a perfect image of Christ Jesus.

So, I inquired of myself “What will we achieve if we have a living faith?”

“Christ the sinless One, upon whom the Holy Spirit was bestowed without measure, constantly acknowledged His dependence upon God, and sought fresh supplies from the Source of strength and wisdom. How much more should finite, erring man feel his need of help from God every hour and every moment. How carefully should he follow the leading Hand, how carefully treasure every word that has been given for his guidance and instruction! “As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of the maiden unto the hand of her mistress,’ so should our eyes be upon the Lord our God. His commands should be received with implicit faith, and obeyed with cheerful exactness.” That I May Know Him, 252:4.

Answer:

  • A faith that constantly acknowledges our dependence on God
  • Seek fresh supplies of strength and wisdom from God
  • Every word treasured given for guidance and instruction

Many times, it may not seem so simple to trust God even in all the details in life such as those you may see and those that you do not see, but it is the little details in life that strengthen us to be prepared for the big events in life. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10.

“God requires us to prove our loyalty to Him by unquestioning obedience. In deciding upon any course we should not ask merely whether we can see harm to result from it, but whether it is contrary to the will of God. We must learn to distrust self and to rely wholly upon God for guidance and support, for a knowledge of His will, and for strength to perform it. We must be much in communion with God. Prayer in secret, prayer while the hands are engaged in labor, prayer while walking by the way, prayer in the night season, the heart’s desires ever ascending to God – this is our only safety. In this manner Enoch walked with God. In this manner our Exemplar obtained strength to tread the thorny path from Nazareth to Calvary.” That I May Know Him., 252:3.

So, as I sit here I am questioning my life. “Am I holding onto a faith like a business card to explain who I am? Or Am I holding onto Christ Jesus’ strength to present to the world a living faith?”

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” He feels that he is the purchase of the blood of Christ and bound by the most solemn vows to glorify God in his body and in his spirit, which are God’s. The love of sin and the love of self are subdued in him. He daily asks: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” The true Christian will never complain that the yoke of Christ is galling to the neck. He accounts the service of Jesus as the truest freedom. The law of God is his delight. Instead of seeking to bring down the divine commands, to accord with his deficiencies, he is constantly striving to rise to the level of their perfection.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, 220:1.

There is great hope in the steps of Christ. It is His example that is unswerving obedience in the Heavenly Father. He presented to the world a faith that would not waiver, that did not seek its own, that did not enjoy living with its own opinion but rather on every word of God. Is this the faith that you and I want daily, that we may be dead to the world and alive in Christ Jesus? I pray so!

– C. Fritz