A frustrated gardener quipped, I’m not much of a gardener. Once I took a seed catalog and started out the door. ‘Where are you going with that?’ my wife asked. ‘I’m going to show it to my tomatoes,’ I explained.” This reminds me that we need more than an ideal; we need an activated life.
What was the pattern of the Ideal Man? As the Son of Man and Son of God, Jesus Christ exemplified a perfectly righteous, divine life. As the perfect Man, the Lord Jesus lived in continual reliance upon the Father. Christ also linked His example of dependence with the way believers are to depend on Him:
“Just as the living Father sent Me, and I live by (through, because of ) the Father, even so whoever continues to feed on Me – who takes Me for his food and is nourished by Me – shall (in his turn) live through and because of Me” (John 6:57, Amplified Bible)
In Christ’s great, recorded intercession He prayed,
“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:19).
Christ is our High priest who is interceding for you even now (Heb. 7:25). He is your gracious host, who beckons you to intimate fellowship with Him in your heart. The risen Christ, Who indwells your spirit (if you are saved), “knocks” on the door of your soul–mind, will, and emotions:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20).
This famous invitation is primarily for God’s people. It seems that much of our frustrations in attempting to live for God can be traced to a fundamental lesson: we cannot live the Christian life — only Christ can! Isn’t that what our Savior emphasizes in John 15:5?
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Our coping mechanisms, self-effort, and zeal are usually symptoms of the flesh trying to do what only God’s Spirit can do through the yielded, believing, trusting child of God. Jesus declared,
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
The attitude of being “poor in spirit” is necessary for more than receiving the saving grace of God at conversion; it is also necessary for the continual experience of the “saving life of Christ”! (Matt 5:3).
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [from self] by His life” (Rom. 5:10).
Andrew Murray wrote:
“Our Lord ever spoke of His relation to the Father as the type and the promise of our relation to Him, and to the Father through Him. With us as with Him, the life of continual obedience is impossible without continual fellowship and continual teaching … Out of the depths of His own life and experience, Christ can give and teach us this. Pray earnestly that God may show you the folly of attempting to obey without the same strength Christ needed. May it make you willing to give up everything for the Christlike joy of the Father’s presence all the day.”
Therefore, “whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:5,6). In Jesus Christ we have the pattern and the power to live abundantly!
Father, help us to realize that our fleshly efforts to please You, however well intended, will not bear fruit that remains. We trust completely in the indwelling presence of Your Spirit to impart the abundant life to us and through us. Through Christ our victorious Savior we pray, amen.
 Andrew Murray, The School of Obedience, pp.44,45
For further study on this theme, see Grace Notes on “The Mystery of Godliness” and “How Did Jesus Do What He Did?”
Copyright by John Woodward, 1998. Permission is granted to reprint for non-commercial use when credit is given to author and Grace Notes. Biblical quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (copyrighted by Thomas Nelson).