“It is no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear, and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it — I can’t. And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it — I can’t. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like this. And if the Spirit of Jesus could come into me, then I could live a life like that. This is the secret of Christian sanctity. It is not that we should strive to live like Jesus, but that he by his Spirit should come and live in us. To have him as our example is not enough; we need him as our Saviour” (John R. W. Stott).
I think for years, a lot of American Christianity has come across as “try harder” and “do better.”
The fact is that the message should be “I can’t . . . but Jesus can.”
It’s not a matter of trying harder as if I could somehow by my own willpower sweat and strain and groan and push myself toward holiness.
True, the path to Christlikeness isn’t an easy one. In fact, humanly speaking it’s impossible.
The only way to achieving holiness and Christlikeness is the power of Christ. It’s the very presence of Christ within us.
Maturity in the faith doesn’t come by brute strength but in surrender, not in obstinance but obedience, not in extra effort but by the indwelling of God’s Spirit.
Tonight, I needed to remind myself that the gospel is all Jesus from start to finish. I can’t boast at any point about any part of it. If it seems out of reach or hopeless, all I need is to remember that Jesus promised to finish what He began in every one of His children. The end.