By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“We cannot be lukewarm; we have to be on fire for the cause of Christ” – D.L. Moody
We’ve all probably had thoughts like this:
I wish I could be as good of a Christian as so-and-so. They are just so Christ-like and here I am, the King/Queen of Sinners. I just don’t know how they do it. I try and I try and I try but I always end up falling short.
Herein lies our mistake. It is a trap that all Christians have fallen into. It is the temptation of everyone who seeks renewal. It is the pitfall of every person who craves Christlikeness.
It is the misunderstanding that Christlikeness is something that everyone must will themselves towards. That somehow, these really great Christians, these strongholds of the Christian faith, these anchors of holiness, these dependent elders of the Church, simply work harder than everyone else. That they simply woke up every day and made the decision to plod through temptation and sidestep sin in order to become holy. We conclude that they are such excellent Christians because they have a strength of mind and body in which they are able to thwart the attempts of the enemy single-handedly.
And we think, if only I could be that strong. If only I could will myself to be holy. If only I had the resolve to turn from temptation, then I would be as strong a Christian as they.
We get up from the altar and we say, “This time it’s going to be different. I’m going to try harder this time not to fall into sin.”
But we fall short once again.
We make the mistake of assuming that these exceptional Christians came to be that way because of their own hard work and determination. We believe that if we work really hard we too can be great Christians. But the truth of the matter is that great Christians don’t come from the strength or will of the person, it comes from the inward renewal of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God.
You will never become holy by simply making the right decisions and trying harder. Holiness and renewal come by dedicating ourselves wholly to God. It comes through a relationship with Him in which we allow Him to shape and mold us into Christlikeness. The temptation can be to shape and mold ourselves into what we think Christ looks like, but we will never succeed.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-12).
We must dedicate ourselves to God and allow Him to clean our hearts. We can’t do it on our own.
Don’t let this Christmas season pass you by without reaching out to God and asking Him to provide a renewal that only He can offer.
Parents: Explain to your children how we strive to be like Christ. Tell them that the temptation can be to try and do it ourselves, but it requires God’s work in us.