I believe that many Christians have missed out on the power available to them through redemption. The reason for this is because we have tended to focus solely on salvation, and thus overlooked the reality that redemption in the restoration of our true lives.
Christians have trusted in Christ for forgiveness, so we have our tickets punched for heaven, but then we try to follow Jesus and live life based on our own will power and strength. Since we are weak and controlled by our flesh we find it impossible to live the sort of life that Jesus called us to live.
Learning to live guided by the Holy Spirit is the key to living the abundant life Jesus promised to his followers.
In his book Absolute Surrender Andrew Murray wrote:
The cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you. And that cannot be. You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work, and God will work gloriously. It is this that we need if we are indeed to be workers for God (p. 113; Humility and Absolute Surrender).
I know what it is like to live in weakness. I thought it was my job to overcome sin, to break the chains of addictions, and to work up courage to share the Gospel. This resulted in living a life full of discouragement, condemnation, and isolation. I could not live up to my own expectations, and that made me feel a poser.
Part of the problem was that I believed this terrible half-truth; that if I truly loved God, then I would naturally want to read the Bible, pray, and serve. Not only would those disciplines come naturally to me; I would easily be able to git rid of the sin that plagued my life for years.
When that did not happen, I was left with this explanation: I did not truly love God. This type of doubt is a death sentence to a person’s relationship with God.
I found freedom when I realized that redemption was more than salvation. Through the words of men like John Eldredge, N. T. Wright, Dallas Willard, and Andrew Murray, the Holy Spirit showed me what redemption truly is about. It is about being restored, being made new, and being brought into the Kingdom of God.
Jesus didn’t die to make up for our shortcomings. Jesus died to overcome the power of sin, and his resurrection ushered in new Creation. This means we can have new life! It means that we can throw away the old way of living and live in a totally new way. This new way of life begins and ends by surrendering our lives to God, for it is only through God’s power that we are able to live the life that He has created for us to live.
This is what the apostle Paul wrote about God’s power:
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,*15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.*16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21; ESV).
If we are going to experience God’s power then we need to surrender our lives to Him through prayer. We need to bow our knees before the Father on a daily basis, offering our lives as living sacrifices and asking for the wisdom and strength to live a life that is worthy of Jesus.
We also need to invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts. It is through the Spirit working in our inner being that we experience God’s power in our lives. This power roots us in love, helps us ponder the amazing love God, and allows us to experience the abundance of God’s power in our lives.
It is this power, the power to do more than we can possibly imagine, that empowers us to overcome our addictions, that heals our broken hearts, and fills us with courage to live boldly for Him. We can only experience this power in our lives when we surrender our lives to God.
God is interested in you having victory over sin, in living with courage, and experiencing true joy. Please, don’t think these things rest on your shoulders to achieve. They are promises from God, so trust His love and power to grant these things to you. Surrender your life to God and ask for His power to live, because Jesus died so that you could experience that power in your life.