...my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
– Jeremiah 2:13
A few weeks back I found myself doing something that years ago I would have never dreamed of. I was walking into a Celebrate Recovery group to share with others my own testimony of struggles and experience of Christ's victory in me. There I was, standing and worshiping with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are fighting their own battles, and God spoke a simple phrase in to my heart that captivated me.
As we worshiped together the leader mentioned between songs that we can overcome by the power of Christ in us. Then as we began singing the next song, and I thought through what I was about to share, the Holy Spirit brought this into my mind:
I have been able to overcome, because Christ overcame me.
That simple thought overwhelmed me! It resonated deep within me because of the reality that we, on our own, have no ability to truly overcome. We are powerless to change who we are. Don't get me wrong, sure, we may be able to change a habit or restrain ourselves of certain behaviors here or there, but that is like putting a fresh coat of paint on rotting wood. It does nothing to change the foundation of who you are. What we do, and what we desire to do, comes out of who we are. It comes out of our heart–our mind, will, and emotions. These are the things that make up who we are and those cannot be changed by white-knuckled willpower!
Trying to change ourselves is like gluing our feet to the ground to keep us from moving forward in a direction we want desperately to go, yet we know it is the wrong way. Being changed by God is like actually being turned around and set free to run with joy in the right direction! It is a change in what you want, not just what you do. And that takes being overcome by Christ!
When he overcomes you, it is an opening of the eyes to see God for who he is. That he is the fountain of living water that you so desperately need and you realize all that you once desired is just a muddy hole in the ground. You are overcome by his glory, and you are ready to sprint away from what once captivated you to cling to what can truly meet all of your deepest needs–a glorious fountain of living water.
So, what are you trying to overcome on your own? Overcome your sin, overcome your insufficiencies, overcome your struggles, overcome your weakness, overcome your bondage, overcome your fear? Well, when Christ overcomes us with who he is and we cling to him above everything else, we are held in his power, not our own! We then receive his forgiveness, his full sufficiency, his victory, his strength, his freedom and life, his peace!
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:1-10
In Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are made new! We are brought from death to life! We are his workmanship, raised to walk in newness of life! Both now in our mortal bodies, and one day perfectly forever! (Romans 6:1-14) If you feel powerless to overcome, well, let me just put it clearly, it is because you are. Get in God's word, get in prayer, and keep looking to Jesus! Follow and trust him only! Keep turning away from the things of this world and keep looking at the Fountain!
Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. You can find more of them here.