Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, July 5, 2017
This is devotional thought number 13 in our devotional series, “Essentials of Faith.” Our subject is “The Sinner’s (My) Need for Christ.”
Here’s the question for consideration: In my own power, am I capable of bringing myself back into a good relationship with God?
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).
Futile! Futility! Futile! Futility! Do I have your attention? Lest you think willpower alone is the route to spiritual success, please consider our theme text today.
So many people who’ve been overcome with addictions to alcohol, drugs, or have compulsive behaviors have made hundreds, or even thousands of attempts to overcome their addictions, to no avail. Yes, there may have been momentary victories, but simply asserting their will against these giants have never been successful against them; anymore that a Cushite can change his heritage or a leopard its spots.
Why You Need More Than Self-Help
Sin is an insidious foe as we have said many times recently. Its teeth are sunk more deeply than any of us imagine until we attempt to escape; then we realize the depths to which it has dragged us. The key to overcoming sin is submission to God. He alone has the power we need to do so. He does not simply renovate our characters, give us tips for success, or show us the right way. No. He gives us brand new minds and intentions, that if we will cooperate by the power of the Holy Spirit, will manifest our holy characters.
Notice what the Bible says: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12–13). Yes, there is much work and effort involved in our victory. However, it is God who gives us the desire and the power to carry out our part of the equation. Our God-given power, aligned with God’s unlimited power, fosters the change we need to enter eternal life.
So please do not get caught up in trying your best to do God’s will without first submitting your life to Him. Eliminate the futile attempts to please Him in your own strength and you will receive a crown of life one day.