How many times have you heard that God requires you to live the Christian life and all you need to do is make up your mind that you will live as Christ would have you live? You hear this, you make a fresh dedication of your life to Christ, you try your best to live according to the Word, and you fail. You then beat up on yourself because this was something you were determined to do and you feel terrible that you keep coming short.

You are like the man the Apostle Paul described in Romans 7:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7:15-20 NASB)

Notice Paul’s reference to the “flesh?” The flesh is the Biblical word for human independence and self-effort. It represents a way of living, of trying to get things done, good or bad, by means of human strength; by focusing on what “I” must do instead of on what Christ has done. But God does not want your flesh (self-effort). Nothing good dwells in it. He wants you to bury it and allow Jesus to express His life in and through you instead.

The more I study the New Testament the more I come to see that Christianity is the celebration of what God has done for us in Christ. To the extent that we believe in and celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and darkness on our behalf, we walk in victory. To the extent we take our eyes off His life and victory in order to establish our own, even “with His help and for His glory,” we are walking “according to the flesh.” And we will experience frustration and defeat every time.

So here is a wonderful verse to memorize and personalize to help you turn your eyes off of your own self-efforts and unto Jesus.

I been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20 NASB)

Child of God, contrary to what many of us have been taught, the Christian life is not difficult to live–it’s impossible. The only person who can live the Christian life is the only one who ever lived it perfectly–Jesus Christ! And the only way you will experience victory as a Christian is to see His finished work on your behalf and to learn how to collaborate with Jesus by faith so that He can live His life for you and through you.