“We began our Christian life by depending not upon our own doing but upon what he had done. Until a man does this he is no Christian; for to say: “I can do nothing to… More
Receiving “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3)is a simple act of faith that even a child can do. However, because of wrong thinking, wrong believing, and self-sufficiency, it is often a long and trying process in the life of a believer. God understands this. As we seek Him with all our heart, He lovingly establishes us in our true identity and leads us into the rest, freedom and blessings purchased on our behalf by His Son.
A friend of mine wrote the following lyrics many years ago. God used them, along with circumstances in my life, to move me from the path of “doing” to the road of “receiving.” The moment I read these lyrics on the piece of paper my friend casually handed me one day, I was aware of an overwhelming longing to know what he knew, as revealed on the page. I realized he understood his utter destitution apart from Christ, and I wanted to know it too. Desperation rose up in me, and I began to cry out to God about it. This continued for months. I carried the folded piece of paper around with me and took it out and read it whenever I had a free moment. Most of the time it brought me to tears.
After several months of this, one afternoon God gave me a powerful, loving vision of how He saw me in terms of my weakness and inability to live the Christian life apart from Him. I was no longer the same person. After this encounter, the lyrics had new meaning for me. God answered the deepest cry of my heart, and a peace and rest came over me that I hadn’t known before. I knew, in a new way, that I was utterly dependent upon Him. I learned that’s how He sees all of us, and that He’s just waiting for us to see it too!
My prayer is that the lyrics below touch you in some way on your journey of realizing that “apart from Him, you can do nothing,” for this is God’s doorway to receiving all the blessings in Christ that are already ours.
The Good in Me
All the good in me, Lord, is through You.
all the good in me is through You.
When I came to your Son and begged to be freed,
That wasn’t me, Lord, it was You.
I know that wasn’t me — it was You.
All the joy around me, Lord, is You.
all the joy around me comes from You.
How could I ever think it was people or things,
It wasn’t them, Lord, it was You.
it wasn’t them — it was You.
But my world fell apart, Lord; where are You?
everything’s wrong and I’m tired, where are You?
I feel so helpless…to be happy seems a dream….
Oh my God, what has happened? Where are you?
Dear God, what has happened? Where are you?
Now that I’m helpless, what can I do?
I feel so helpless, what can I do?
What a wretched man am I — who will rescue me from this?
Now, Lord, what can I do.
What can I do…what can I do.
There is nothing I can do, Lord, it’s all You!
there is nothing I can do, it’s all You!
Now I’m helpless…and broken…and desperate…and lost…
Finally! – You can use me — I’m in You!
Oh my God, please forgive me — I forgot You!
Dear God – forgive me — I forgot You.
Your Spirit is alive, and working within me.
I praise your mercy, I love You.
I praise your mercy, I love You.
All the good in me, Lord, is through You.
all the good in me is through You.
Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
All the good in me, Lord, is through You.
all this good in me came through You.
Galatians 2:20 and 5:16-26
What are you more conscious of today — your sins, or the forgiveness of your sins? If your answer is “my sins,” then I encourage you to read this post. For Jesus came to finish the sin issue between you and God. He came to satisfy everything God had against you.
Paul said, It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. You are not free if you live with condemnation, that gnawing sense that you’re always blowing it; that God is constantly disappointed, disgusted or mad at you. I lived that way for years. My freedom and rest level was zero.
For years I believed that when Jesus said, It is finished, He just meant He had completed His work on earth and now was going to heaven to be with His Father. Then one day I saw it: IT IS FINISHED. The sin issue has been finished in the eyes of God! The perfect Lamb of God had met God’s stringent requirements of righteousness, and had laid down His life for you and me. All that was left for me to do was receive it. When you received Christ, you received complete forgiveness, once, and for all eternity, in Him. But are you experiencing it yet?
The Cross is everything! Here’s what happened there:
- Jesus stood in for you and as you. He took the punishment for the sins of the whole world, including yours — past, present and future — upon Himself.
- When He died, all of your sins were carried away, even the ones you haven’t committed yet. You see, when Jesus died, all of your sins were in the future! God exhausted His wrath on His beloved Son, so you could go free. When you believed in and on Jesus, God placed you in Christ forever. There is no more sacrifice for sin left. None.
- In God’s view, it’s over. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12. Let it sink in.
- It gets even more astounding: When Jesus took your sin upon Himself; the Bible says He gave you His righteousness.
- Jesus became Sin and you became Righteousness. How could you be made righteous in God’s eyes when you were a sinner? The same way Jesus became sin in God’s eyes even though He was completely righteous: God’s miraculous grace!
- The old system of living by rules and regulations to earn God’s blessings and favor was also finished! The new covenant of favor in Christ and being led from within by the Holy Spirit had begun.
When you really understand the weight of what happened at the Cross, you will never be the same. The condemnation on your shoulders (you may be so used to this that you don’t even feel it) will lift off and evaporate. Then and only then will you be free to live life as God intended: Christ in you, through you — because you will finally be at rest from your own works.
You will never be able to satisfy God through your efforts to live by the 10 commandments, not now, not ever. Never.
Jesus is God’s satisfaction. Will you finally receive it?
Gal 5:1; John 19:30; 1 John 2:2; Heb 9:14; Heb 8:12; Heb 8:10; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 8:1; Heb 9:26
Have you ever experienced someone who knows you well saying “you’ve changed” (grown, matured, etc.), and you were surprised because not only did you not notice the growth, you didn’t “do” anything to grow? This is one of the most encouraging statements you can hear if you’re someone who wants to grow in your faith.
I heard this for the first time years ago, when one of my sisters announced to me, “before you became a believer in Christ you were “much more negative…. you’ve really changed.” For the record, I didn’t even know I was “negative” before (I just thought I had a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor, haha), so I was equally clueless that I had changed. The fact is, I had changed with no effort at all! I had changed unconsciously and permanently without even trying! Have you changed effortlessly? Yes you have, if you are a believer. You see, you cannot help but grow if you have Christ inside you. His nature will eventually manifest through you.
But just how does real, permanent growth take place without effort? Jesus said look at a grapevine and its branches. He said a branch will bear (grow) fruit just by staying attached to the vine! Likewise, a Christian will grow spiritually just by staying attached to the vine (Christ)! That sounds…almost…simple.
For many years I asked “How do I stay attached to the vine? Tell me how to abide.” I believed I had to DO something to stay connected to God. “Come on, just tell me how to DO it.” Have you ever felt this way? Well, how does a branch stay attached to the vine? It just rests where it is. Here is how we stay attached: We rest where we already are in Him.
The critical question then becomes, “Do you know where you already are in Him?” If you can’t answer “Yes” to that question, then your growth — the true effortless, permanent kind — will be slow. Why? Because you will be spending your time working on yourself and getting discouraged. You weren’t meant to do it that way.
The secret to growing spiritually: Learn where you already are in Christ because of His efforts, His finished work on the Cross. Come and learn, come and receive, come and trust in what you already have in Him.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 1 Pet 1:3.
Jesus Christ loved you enough to give Himself to you. The old you died with Him, and now He lives in you, the new you. Now you live by His faith. Galatians 2:20
Striving will diminish, and resting will flourish. Growth will be effortless. That’s the abundant life Jesus promised to you and me.
Have you experienced some effortless growth you’d like to share?
I am your place of refuge, rest, comfort and beauty — the abiding place of your affections. All your needs are met in Me, and I satisfy your true desires. My living water flows to quench your thirst and fill your life with good things. It’s here at home that I refresh and restore your soul.
I provide everything you need at just the right time. I forgive all your sins, heal all your diseases, and crown you with love and tender mercies. I joyfully renew your youth. I am the place of perfect love, and I surround you with a peace that you will never know elsewhere.
Will you make your home in Me?
When you make Me your refuge, I will shelter you from harm, and my promises will protect you. You won’t be afraid of storms, disasters, diseases or terrorists. When you call on me I will answer you. I will be with you in trouble, and I will rescue you!
I see you seek refuge in other homes, and I wait patiently, longing for your return. I prepare a table for you that’s always ready, always waiting. I delight in you, and miss you when you’re away. I search for you from a distance, and my heart leaps when I see you returning. Oh how I want to be your home every day, all day; you have no idea how much I want this.
I have made My home in you; will you make your home in Me?
John 14:23, Psalm 103, Psalm 145, Psalm 23, Psalm 90, Psalm 91, Luke 15
Grace is not a thing; Grace is not a concept; Grace is not a doctrine. Grace is a person and His name is Jesus Christ.
Grace is who He is and what He is. Grace is love, perfect love. You can’t buy Him, you can’t earn Him, you can’t deserve Him or what He did for you. Grace is Jesus.
He gives Himself freely, and you can’t pay Him back. You can’t make Him love you more, and He cannot love you any less. Grace is Jesus.
Jesus bought you at the Cross, and you received “every blessing given by the Holy Spirit” along with complete forgiveness. Jesus suffered and died an extreme death. He did it to reconcile you to a Father who loves you with an everlasting love, the width, length, depth and height of which surpasses knowledge!
Jesus did not BUY you grace; He did not buy you a “ticket to paradise” at the Cross. He gave HIMSELF to you – FOREVER. His eternal life is already in you. You are His beloved, and He is yours. Heaven in you has started on the earth, and it will continue into eternity.
Here is the Heaven already in you, eager to fill you and flow out:
• Life, sonship, righteousness, holiness, truth, glory, wisdom; understanding; counsel; power; comfort; knowledge – the characteristics of the Holy Spirit who indwells you.
• Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control – the fruit of the Holy Spirit who indwells you.
Grace is a Person, and He’s calling your name to come and receive what He’s given freely!
I am a friend like no other. I am your best friend. No longer do I call you servant, I’m calling you My dear friend. Everyday, all day, I am your closest friend. No one loves you like I do. I am the One who will never leave you or forsake you; I am the friend who loves you with an everlasting love. I am the friend who delights in you everyday, all day. I will never betray you, I will forever cherish you. I know you and approve of you.
You are a friend like no other, you are the perfect friend for Me. I gave you My heart and you received it. You may not treat Me perfectly, but I don’t remember your sins. You have My Life! Therefore you never disappoint Me, never fail Me. You are as righteous, and perfect to Me as My Son. You may try to leave Me, but I will never leave you. We are joined together. I accept you as you are, and you give Me great JOY.
John 15:15; Hebrews 13:5; Jeremiah 31:3; 2 Samuel 22:20; John 17:23; 2 Cor. 5:21; Hebrews 8:12;
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“Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Jesus is talking to His disciples right before He would usher in the new covenant. He was speaking to His chosen ones who would soon be living life without His physical presence….who would soon be carrying His message of redemption, love and grace to all the Earth. He was preparing them for the work of the Kingdom that was about to be pushed to a new level. Jesus’s “How-To Manual” began like this:
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.” John 15:5 (MSG)
Jesus gave His disciples their plan for living life and marching orders for service by announcing to them their utter helplessness apart from Him. He didn’t start with a pep rally, explaining how hard they would have to work, but that it would all be worth it in the end. He didn’t try to motivate them by saying “I know you can do this, persevere!” He didn’t tell them all the things they would have to give up as His followers. He didn’t teach them the different ways to share the gospel, how to heal the sick, how to cast out demons. He taught no methods, no rules, no 10 steps, no strategies for getting people saved or doing the work of the Kingdom. He said in effect “don’t try to live this life without staying deeply connected to Me, or the fruit of your labors will be meaningless.”
He was saying, to paraphrase, “I love you with an everlasting love, now live in that love, stay joined with Me, stay joined to My love…. know Me, and you will have success.”
Surely Jesus wasn’t saying we couldn’t walk, talk, or work apart from Him. Most of the world is able to do these things without giving Him a second thought, including atheists. They are producing something, aren’t they? Jesus was saying that nothing of any eternal value would be produced through self-effort.
Yet the Church is filled with believers operating in their own strength, working for an approval from God which they already possess in Christ; striving for an approval from man, which they don’t need.
Lord, show us our deep need for You and Your love in every area of life. Reveal to us that we are already approved by You because of what Jesus already did. Show us our inability, that we may rest in You and receive Your ability. Demonstrate to us and through us the abundant life that comes from knowing You as Everything.