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We have been saved by grace…through faith. What a wonderful gift! Sadly though, too many Christians live the way it’s described in Galatians 3:3: …Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?
That’s a really good question to ponder. How do we get ourselves into that place? I think whether we realize it or not, many of us enter into a relationship with God by faith, but then try to maintain that relationship by our own methods. We believed Him for our salvation, but try to make that salvation work on our own.
It’s so sad too, because all this effort is fruitless. We work and work to change ourselves only to end up frustrated time and time again. Sure, maybe we see some small changes here and there, but only when we ask God for His help and depend on His Spirit to lead us, will we begin to see real, lasting changes in our lives.
There’s a beautiful illustration in the book of Zechariah of the way things should be with us. It describes a golden lampstand with a bowl on top that is being continuously supplied with oil from two olive trees on either side of it.
Now, that oil represents God’s Holy Spirit. And this lamp is being continuously supplied with oil through that bowl. That’s what we need…a continuous supply of God’s power. You see, we cannot fix ourselves; it just won’t happen by our strength or power, or our own effort, but only …by My Spirit [of Whom the oil is a symbol], says the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6 AMP).
That’s the power of grace. And we certainly need this kind of power to meet all our issues and obstacles in life.
Are You Plugged In?
Here’s another illustration: Think of a hot day…you’re uncomfortable, sweaty and even a little irritable. It’s hot! But there’s a fan. You pick it up and hold it up to your face…and nothing happens. It’s still hot! You examine the fan…it has all the necessary parts, but nothing is moving. You’re even more uncomfortable now. Then you see it—the cord is not plugged in. That’s what the fan needs—a continuous supply of electric current to run it. But it must be plugged in.
That’s what we need too—to plug in. The Holy Spirit is our continuous supply of God’s power, His grace for our lives. Our victory is not in the methods or principles we exercise. You can’t buy grace through prayer or Bible study or confessing scriptures. These things may be beneficial to you, but your victory in life comes from being plugged in to the continuous supply of the Holy Spirit.
The Choice is Yours
Think of it like this: Farmers have formulas for planting, but not for harvesting. Our methods and principles are like seeds. But God’s grace produces the harvest.
It’s our choice whether we depend on humanism—our own efforts…or grace—God’s power. We can work in the flesh, which is our own strength, or let the Holy Spirit lead. We can literally spend our entire lives exercising our own efforts, seeing only minimal change in our lives. Or we can learn to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us, according to God’s plan for our lives, and begin to see real change. The sooner we realize that we can’t do it without His help, the sooner we will realize that we can relax and “plug in.” The pressure is not on us any longer…it is God who will finish what He started when He saved us (see Philippians 1:6).
So you can be a believer or an achiever. The achiever works and works…saved by grace but living by human effort. The believer rests in the grace of God and follows the leading of the Holy Spirit into an abundant productive victorious life.
We each have the choice before us. We can pray and study and confess scriptures all day long. There’s nothing wrong with that. We will achieve a little bit of change in our life. Or we can pray and study and confess God’s Word as the Holy Spirit leads us—and believe Him for not only lasting change, but everlasting life!
So, which one will you be…believer or achiever?