“Put Down Those Oars!”
Imagine yourself in a canoe floating down a stream that is flowing in the direction you want to go. All you have to do is sit in the canoe for awhile, admiring the scenery, waving at the fellow boaters, delighting in the sight of a fish leaping gleefully in front of you. You smell the sweetness from the fragrant trees on the shore. Perhaps you are enjoying a cool drink and a bite to eat. The current and the boat cooperate marvelously to facilitate this journey. You are resting, yet still making good progress toward your destination.
How foolish it would be to suddenly grab a paddle and begin to over-exert yourself with stroking, thinking that it takes your effort to complete the journey.
Welcome to the world of the Believer who is unwittingly serving God in his (her) own strength.
As author Major Ian Thomas says in his wonderful book, “The Saving Life of Christ”: “Serving God in our own strength is like someone giving us a fine automobile. We receive the gift thankfully, then proceed to get behind it and push it where we want to go! We are sincere, we are going in the right direction, and we are… exhausted! Why? Because the automobile was never designed to operate properly by being pushed!” (my paraphrase)
And we were not created to live the Christian life in our own strength. As the Apostle Paul said, “I live, nevertheless not I, but Christ Who lives in me!” Jesus is the Christian Life. Put down those oars!