“I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” (Psalms 16:8)
The subject of Christian living is often given only cursory treatment, if any at all. It seems as though many would tell you how to be a Christian, but overlook the aspect of practical Christian living. It is not enough that we should know the Lord, but that we follow Him (John 12:26). We are to “…walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4); rendering our “…bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1). But how is this accomplished in our daily walk? (This is the final devotional in a three part series on Christian living. Please read the two previous devotionals before continuing with this one.)
III. The Experience of Christian Living: Satisfaction
We have dealt with the effort required to live a Christian life. It needs be said that the natural man does not seek after God. He will not do so (Romans 3:11). No one will come to Christ unless they are drawn by the Father (John 6:44). It is God who then works in us, giving us the will and the power to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The very desire to live a life that brings glory and honor to God is one given to us by Him and He has not left us powerless to live this life.
Our surrender then is not the cause of our strength, but merely the necessary means by which we become aware of that strength. When we become witness to this great and mighty power, our heart is flooded with peace and we can begin to experience true satisfaction in life.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
It is futile for us to rely on our own power to become overcomers. Much more useless is to seek any sort of satisfaction from our own righteousness. It seems to be in our nature to want to have credit for the very things outside our ability. We know that we could not bring about our own salvation; we cannot add one cubit to our stature (Matthew 6:27). The truth is that we can do nothing without Christ (John 15:15).
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8-9)
Being “as filthy rags,” our own righteousness proves to be insufficient at bringing any real satisfaction. These good deeds we would do are found to be as dung and offer only the fleeting impression of satisfaction. The only way we can experience true satisfaction in relation to our self is through the surrendered Christian life, resting in the strength of Christ and His righteousness.
As we have come to realize the lack of our own ability to achieve any degree of satisfaction in relation to self, we must also see no satisfaction in relation to situations. It has been said that no one will surrender as long as they see something to hope in. The child of God must come to see that life is characterized by uncertainty.
“(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)” (Job 8:9)
The very best that this world has to offer in terms of satisfaction is a false impression. We indeed know nothing, can do nothing, to guarantee any lasting satisfaction outside of a complete surrender to Christ. Our days are a shadow, our situations uncertain, our hope false. The only real source is Christ, the only Source for true satisfaction.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
If we are to live our New Life in Christ, we must live in Christ. We must give the entirety of our being over to Him and cease to trust in our own selves or our common situations for any sense of satisfaction. Our true hope is in the unchanging righteousness of Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Our experience of Christian living brings true and lasting satisfaction in relation to our self and our situations as we trust in Christ to supply both. But there is also the satisfaction to be realized in relation to sin. By our surrendering, we become increasingly aware of our sin as we seek God whole heartedly.
“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2)
As we come closer to holiness, we are revealed to be sinful wretches whose best works are filthy in the Light of Jesus Christ. We are separated from God by our sin and cannot come near, without first having the judgment of those sins satisfied. Again, we are brought to the point that we see ourselves to be completely helpless and in need of a righteousness that exceeds any we are able to provide for ourselves. But there is a solution to this problem:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Just as we have surrendered to Christ for satisfaction in relation to our self and our situation; so too do we have need to surrender to Him for the satisfaction we need in relation to sin. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7), restoring fellowship with the Father. Without which we can not know true satisfaction.
In conclusion, we have seen that living a life “in Christ” is dependent on our realization of Him in our life. Our constant and continual recognition of Jesus Christ’s Lordship in every aspect of life will lead us to a life that honors Him above our own self. We will do those things that please Him and in turn bring blessings upon ourselves as He rewards obedience.
We have seen that the effort required for true Christian living is a complete and total surrender of our will, for the Will of God to be done in our life. The effect of surrendering to the Lord is the realization that He has given us the strength to do His Will. We not only come to know the peace available from resting in the strength of God, but we also begin to experience true satisfaction in every area of life.
Christian living is impossible without Christ. In Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). He lives in us and through us. This demands our surrender to Him as Lord right now as we live our New Life for Him and His Kingdom as a present reality. This is Christian living.