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Old Meeting House Congregational Church (1643)

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The Hindrance of Self-Effort

January 15, 2018

The saying; “God helps those who help themselves” is supposed by many to enshrine the truth of Christianity. But this is only a half-truth as it can lead us to place the emphasis on self-effort. We mistakenly think that God has lost His power and needs our help! It may go against our human reasoning that as the psalmist reminds us that our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. God is the one who initiates we just have to follow. The act by which deliverance is secured is from God and not by our self-efforts. The best effort we can make ourselves is to bring our lives to the places where they meet Jesus Christ. He is after all the Saviour of the World. He alone can “break the power of cancelled sin and set the prisoner free.” We cannot lift ourselves by our own shoes laces. He and He alone can raise us to the high places where we can have fellowship with Him. One of the important lessons we must learn is “to let go and let God”. This is easy enough to say but terribly difficult to do. However, the more we can allow the spirit of God’s freedom to rule the less self-effort we need to make. Those who try to save themselves by the sheer power of their will sooner or later break under the strain. When we give full and free entrance to the spirit of Christ, the work of regeneration and renewal goes on steadily like the growth of a flower. The more simple and natural our faith the truer it is. “Himself He cannot save” was said scornfully of Jesus Christ by those in the crowd. It is true of every one of us. “He that finds his life shall lose it, but he that loses his life for My sake shall save it.” The way of deliverance then is the way of surrender. We die to self in order that we may live to God.

John.

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