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It Takes Christ in You

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It Takes Christ in You

Every one of us can give our best effort to change our lives, but if it emanates from our own ability, apart from Christ, it will fail. The Apostle Paul frequently wrote about the problem of human effort apart from Christ. He called it living under the law.

The law is simply any attempt at true life change apart from the power of Jesus Christ working in us.

The Apostle Paul addressed the problem in almost all of his writings to the churches. In Romans 7, he wrote a classic about our feeble attempts. Paul concluded the depressing picture of human effort with this cry, “What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature.”[1]

Everything you and I need is found in Christ.

If you are struggling with an addiction, more willpower is not going to give you the victory. It’s not about behavioral management. It’s about leaning into the power of Christ to overcome addiction. Christ teaches us to examine the whole man—to look at our hearts, our motives, our innermost desires—and to bring each longing under the control of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us.

So Paul declares our only hope is in Christ:

“God has hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. I say this so that no one will mislead you with arguments that merely sound good. Although I’m absent from you physically, I’m with you in spirit. I’m happy to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. You received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live as Christ’s people. Sink your roots in him and build on him. Be strengthened by the faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving. Be careful not to let anyone rob you of this faith through a shallow and misleading philosophy. Such a person follows human traditions and the world’s way of doing things rather than following Christ. All of God lives in Christ’s body, and God has made you complete in Christ. Christ is in charge of every ruler and authority.[2]

More rules and goals are not going to fundamentally change our hearts. Rules and goals sound good, but only Christ can give us the power we need to change from the inside out.

If you have died with Christ to the world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It’s as though you were still under the world’s influence. People will tell you, “Don’t handle this! Don’t taste or touch that!” All of these things deal with objects that are only used up anyway. These things look like wisdom with their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body. But they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your corrupt nature.[3]

Everything you need to make a good and lasting change in your life is found in Christ. It takes Christ in you.

Listen to the podcast this blog is taken from, Here’s the Problem – More or Less.

[1] Romans 7:24-25 GW

[2] Colossians 2:3-10 GWT

[3] Colossians 2:20-23 GW

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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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