Jesus Gives Us Strength To Obey

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:11

Throughout the New Testament we are given the assurance that if we are in Christ we do not live by our own power. The battle between the flesh and the Spirit can be won because God is at work within us, giving us strength and life. He will win the day and we will be kept safe.

It is not our strength that makes us holy, it is not our effort that brings righteousness. We must work and we must act but we also must realize that the only reason we are able to work and act is because the Spirit of God has given us life and filled us with strength.

There are at least two opposing reasons why this is hard for us. On the one hand, we do not like to yield credit. If our obedience only comes because of God’s strength, we cannot claim any of the glory – all praise goes to God and him alone. On the other hand, we begin to feel that if obedience comes through God’s strength, nothing is required of us. We feel that when God is ready for us to be obedient, he will make us obedient. Meanwhile, we rest comfortably in our disobedience.

But God has not given us life so that we can claim credit or so that we can neglect his gift. We rejoice in his mercy and grace as we use the strength he gives us to fight sin and obey his commands.

And is his strength sufficient for you? Is he powerful enough to overcome your sin and temptations? “He has not given me much strength!” you might protest. “If he only gave me more of his strength I could overcome!” But Paul says he who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you… and in Ephesians 1:19-20 he tells us about the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us the same power with which he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand.

Christian, take heart in your struggle against sin. God has not held back his strength from you. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is now at work in your life. Surrender to his strength and live obediently to him.