3 Things About The Futility Of Striving In Our Own Strength



“Do not strive in your own strength.”

– Andrew Murray

How frustrating it is operating in our own strength. If only we’d depend upon His strength.

Apart from Him We Can do Nothing

We cannot do a little something or a bit of something but we can do nothing in our own strength and apart from Christ, we don’t have a chance. Doing nothing in our own strength is not doing a little something. Imagine if Christ were trying to resurrect Lazarus from the tomb being 4 days dead and Jesus asked him to cooperate in the process. Can we imagine Jesus saying “Okay Lazarus, if you’ll just move your little toe or blink an eye, I’ll do the rest?” I know that sounds ridiculous but how ridiculous is it when we try to live the Christian life apart from the strength that is found only in Christ. Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If a branch is not attached to the vine, it can’t produce anything. In the same way, apart from abiding in Christ, we can produce absolutely nothing. The only thing we can produce is carnal fruits and that is not well pleasing to God.

In Christ, We can do all Things

We can do all things…but only if it is in Christ. I heard one man say that we need to commit ourselves to God. That sounds good but actually reminds us that “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). I am not saying that we shouldn’t strive to enter by the narrow gate but without Christ’s help, we haven’t a chance. I believe our greatest victories in life will come when we surrender to God because then God can be glorified by working through us. It is not me + Christ = victory but surrender + Christ = victory. It is only in this way that we can be “strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Col 1:11). It is in His glorious might, not ours and in this way, God gets all the glory. That’s why Paul wrote that for the victory over his flesh “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength” (1 Tim 1:12).

Conquerors in Him

When I read Romans 8:31 which says “If God is for us, who can be against us” I understand that it does not say if I and God are for me, who can be against me because “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom 8:37). By contrast, we are less than conquerors through ourselves. In fact we will be totally defeated. Paul asks the rhetorical question “Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rom 7:24)? His answer and ours ought to be “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25)?

Conclusion

If we are striving in our own strength, we are fighting a losing battle and losing the only hope we have and that is Jesus Christ. We can do nothing in ourselves but we can do all things in Christ Who is going to strengthen us and then we’ll be more than conquerors…we’ll be victors because Christ has won the battle that we had no chance of winning.