From the earliest years of life we are taught self-reliance. We are taught to walk on our own, eat on our own and to rely on our own abilities. As we grow in our Christian faith however, we learn to rely on Jesus. We learn to walk with Him, to let Him feed us with His body and blood, and finally we learn that our salvation relies on Him. Self-reliance for a Christian is therefore a myth. Please read more.
Just how self-reliant are we? Christians have always struggled to break free of the grip of sin. On our own, this is an impossible task. In our human condition, we are both body and spirit. As such, we are forced to contend with the sins of the flesh. Without complete reliance on Jesus, we will always lose this battle.
In Romans chapter 6, Paul speaks about the process of gaining freedom from sin. He even goes so far as to pose the question, “Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound?” Throughout the balance of chapter six, Paul grapples with the perplexing question of why people, after becoming Christian, still succumb to sinfulness in their life. Ultimately, I think he sees that by growing in unity with Christ and through our faith in Him, our bodies are put to death and we die to sin. As I understand this, it does not mean that as Christians we won’t still be forced to contend with sin, rather it means that our sins will not win out in the end, grace will.
Paul goes on to use the analogy of slavery to make his point. Before believing in Jesus, we were slaves to sin. As we know, the wage for sin is death. Through our belief in Jesus we have been freed from sin and become slaves of God. Through our belief in Jesus we receive the gift of eternal life.
In Romans chapter 7, Paul continues to delve into the Christian inability to live free of sin. He tells us that sin seizes every opportunity to put us to death. In one of his most famous statements Paul states: “We know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I don’t understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.” In other words, Paul makes clear that without God’s assistance we are doomed. Sin would win out without Jesus.
Permit me to ask you this question: “What things do you do in your life that you hate?” As Christians, because of our fleshly existence, we are often overly anxious, we get worried about tomorrow as if we could change it. We store up treasures for our future knowing full well that our life might be taken from us tomorrow. Some of us seek fame and fortune, while others are lazy and slothful. Too frequently, we let our pride get in our way. We gossip. We struggle to cope with change, we struggle to cope with conflict, and we become easily discouraged. We are frequently overly critical of others, we lack personal discipline, we overreact and over drink. We are filled with fears and doubts and this sometimes leads to hopelessness. We can be too controlling, too opinionated, and as a result hurt others who are closest to us. We occasionally fail to go to church on Sunday, fail to tithe, and we isolate ourselves and fail to participate fully in our Christian communities. We spend too much time on social media. We lust, look at pornography, fornicate, commit adultery, and engage in homosexual acts and other sexual sins. And this list goes on and on.
Because we live in the flesh, our lives are given over to the ways of the flesh. Without our faith in Jesus Christ, we would be damned. The wage for sin is death. The reward for our faith in Jesus is eternal life. WE NEED HIM. WE DEPEND ON HIM, WE CRY OUT: “LORD I NEED YOU!”
In the song LORD I NEED YOU sung by Matt Maher we find these lyrics:
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Please take a minute and a half to watch this very short video clip by Matt Maher as he explains the story behind the song LORD I NEED YOU.
In Romans chapter 8, Paul gives us hope. He reminds us that through the redemptive work of Christ, Christians have been liberated from the terrible forces of sin and death. But this is only true through Him. Psalm 55:17 states: “At dusk, dawn, and noon I will grieve and complain, and my prayer will be heard.” In Matthew 28:20, we receive this assurance “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
In closing I want to suggest we should all start each day with these words: “LORD I NEED YOU!” I will leave you with a question to mull over in your heart: In what ways are you trying too hard to rely on yourself rather than on relying on Jesus?
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