As a young Christian, I had sin in my life I could not conquer. I
could sometimes resist temptation for a week or two, but
eventually I fell flat on my face. In fact, my face had several
I thought God was disappointed in me. Over and over I resolved
to do better. I became so frustrated by my inability to escape the
bondage, I felt like banging my head against the wall.
Victory eventually did come, but it was not by any of the
methods I had tried. It was not by my will power, nor by my
determination, nor by making sincere promises to God, vowing I
would not sin again. Victory came through learning something I had
not previously understood. The truth set me free. My perspective
began to change when I heard a Bible teacher share about Christ
being our righteousness. 1 Cor. 1:30 says, "[God] is the source of
your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made...our righteousness."
Jesus reveals the secret of sanctification in Acts 26:18. He
says that we are "sanctified by faith in [Him]" All those years I
was trying to be sanctified by faith in myself. No wonder my
efforts were devoid of Godís power. My repeated failures were
inevitable because I kept relying on myself rather than on Christ.
Itís possible to believe you are inadequate, but to still
continue to look to yourself as the only possible solution. When
God called Moses to deliver the two million Hebrews out of
slavery, Moses felt inadequate. He said to God, "I donít speak
well. Lord, please send someone else." God then sought to redirect
Mosesís focus by responding, "But I will be with your mouth,
and I will teach you what you shall speak." Unfortunately,
Moses refused to look beyond his inadequacy to the adequacy of
God. The next verse says, "Then Godís anger was kindled against
Moses." Pride lies at the root of our stubborn dependence on self.
I had to learn to look away from myself to Christ. Christ is my
righteousness! I donít have to struggle and strive to be good
anymore. I can just rest in Him. I can rejoice in the truth. Paul
speaks about the secret or mystery of the Christian life in
Colossians 1:27. He says "Christ in you" is "the hope of glory."
I had to learn the same lesson in an entirely different arena.
Before college I had always been a mediocre student. I was lazy,
and my academic record reflects it. (Despite my high aptitude
scores, I graduated from high school in the third fifth of my
class with a 2.7 GPA.) Nevertheless, I entered college with high
hopes of academic success. In my second semester, I flunked every
course except skiing.
I began a housepainting business, but my business soon started
to fail. That was scary. I wondered if I was headed for the
gutter. Fortunately, God intervened. He began to teach me once
again to focus on Christís adequacy rather than on my inadequacy.
He revealed to me that new creatures have Christ's nature and that
one characteristic of Christ's nature is diligence. Christ is my
diligence! I began to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
The results were dramatic.
I returned to college with diligence. I retook all of the
courses I had flunked and finished with a 4.0 GPA. I transferred
to Baylor during my sophomore year and ultimately graduated "magna
I donít try to be adequate anymore. I have the most wonderful
peace regarding the future, not because I think that Iím adequate
for whatever might happen, but because I know God is adequate.
Without Christ I can do nothing, BUT Jesus Christ is my