Today’s Scripture: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
Last fall, I waited way too long to remove the air conditioner from our bedroom window. Even worse, I did it without asking my wife, Julie, for help. Taking the screws out went fine. Taking the weather stripping off went fine. Removing the sealing tape went fine. Opening the window did not go so well. The air conditioner fell and plunged onto the snow and newly frozen ground. It broke one of the weather seals off.
I am not sure what other damage occurred. I went back outside and retrieved it out of the icy flowerbed. I carried it downstairs without even plugging it in to see if the power still worked. It is sitting in the basement corner, waiting for me to muster up the courage to come back and see if it works.
What did I do wrong besides waiting till late in the season to remove my air conditioner? Well, obviously, I did not ask for help. I thought I could do it all by myself. This reminds me of how many Christians approach the Christian life. They are saved but think they need to “live the Christian life” in their own strength. They trust that Jesus saved them, but trust in their own strength to do what’s right now that they are saved.
Oh, it might go just fine for a while, but there will come a moment when it becomes obvious that going it alone was a bad call. Why do we persist in trying to live the Christian life in our own strength? We have two natures and it is our bad habit to trust the old one.
May I suggest you consider recognizing that it is “God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”? You live the Christian life the same way you were saved, by grace through faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9; Col. 2:6). When you trust in your own heart, you are a fool (Pro. 28:26). You do not get bonus points for relying on yourself and not depending on God for help every moment. When you listen to wisdom and rely on God, you will dwell safely (Pro. 1:33). When you rely on Him, you can go through any difficulty.
Paul was able to survive many difficulties because he relied on the Lord’s strength, not his own. (Phil. 4:13). Paul wrote this from a jail cell. He was not saying he could bend the bars and get out because of God’s strength. He was saying he could endure imprisonment by relying on God’s strength.
What are you trying to do in your own strength today? It might be a good time to stop before you really mess things up. I am just glad I do not live on the thirtieth floor of an apartment in New York City. All I did was ruin a brand-new air conditioner, not crush the awning on the street below.
Devotional by Pastor Neal Dearyan