No offense, but some of you don't have any business reading this today. Normally, I do not restrict my words to any special group of people. But now I must. This time it is for Christians only. Everything I write from now to the end of these readings on excuses is strictly for the believer in Christ. If you're not there yet, you can skip parts one and two because you lack a major ingredient: the power of God. Non-Christians are simply unable to choose righteous paths consistently. That divine response upon which the Christian can (and must) draw is not at the unbeliever's disposal. That is, not until personal faith in Jesus Christ is expressed. This is one of those now-not-later issues that's limited to believers only.
Now then, if you know the Lord, you are the recipient of limitless ability . . . incredible strength. Just read a few familiar lines out of the Book, slowly for a change:
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father . . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:14, 16)
He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
And one more:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Wait a minute now. Did you read every word—or did you skip a line or two? If so, please go back and slowly pore over those five statements written to you, a Christian. It's really important.
Okay, what thought stands out the most? Well, if someone asked me that question, I'd say, "Special strength or an unusual ability from God." In these verses it's called several things: strength, power, divine nature, ability. God has somehow placed into the Christian's insides a special something, that extra inner reservoir of power that is more than a match for the stuff life throws at us. When in operation, phenomenal accomplishments are achieved, sometimes even miraculous.
We've been given the amazing power of the Holy Spirit!
So, why do we still struggle so much with making wise choices and living uprightly? We'll talk about that tomorrow.
Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Featuring books for your permanent bookshelf from Charles R. Swindoll: Life Is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React - softcover book, and Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Essential Truths for Becoming Strong in the Faith.