The Miracle of the Christian Life

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.
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Can you think of one miracle you have performed? Just one. Take your time. Think back over your entire life, and see if you can remember one occasion when you performed something supernatural.

Give up? Me too. I can't think of one. In fact, I know I have never performed a miracle. And I am guessing you have reached the same conclusion regarding yourself.

"So then why ask the question Dan?"

Simply because this question can help us to appreciate the miracle of the Christian life.

We have the natural tendency, even as Christians, to assume that our spiritual life is primarily the result of our own efforts, contributions, and personal power. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The Christian life itself is a miracle. It is supernatural. And it is very different than what a person gets when man is the source of his religious experience.

Human beings can choose to be religious, but only God can produce the Christian life.

It begins when a person repents of his sin and believes the good news that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. No one becomes a Christian apart from the miracle of conversion. No one.

And then it's off to the races. That is to say, a new believer immediately begins to live for the Lord.

The temptation is to assume: Jesus saved me, and now I am the one who must produce righteous fruit in my heart and life. But that is not how it works. In fact, such a plan will backfire.

The correct way to understand Christianity is to recognize that the miracle of the Christian life can only be produced by God. After all, you and I are not capable of performing even one miracle by our own power. We have already established that fact, right?

And so we need God just as much in our life of discipleship as we did when we first came to know Christ. And thankfully, God is more than willing to provide just what is needed at every point along the way.

Scripture reveals the power source of the Christian life.

"It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)

God is author of the Christian life, and not man. We can't even produce the desire to do God's will, let alone the follow through.

Jesus said, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit." (John 15:4,5)

In other words, the Christian life is not a natural phenomenon. It is a supernatural reality, and only God can create it in a person's life. You and I do not possess that kind of power. Therefore, it must be given to us if we are going to walk in it and experience it on a daily basis.

Our natural tendency, even as believers, is to assume: "I got this. I am wise enough and strong enough to handle this life of discipleship." But such a view is sadly misguided.

In reality, you and I are not wise enough or strong enough to do it. We need God to do it in us and through us. That's the only way the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23) gets produced in us. Remember, we are merely the branches. You and I are not the vine.

The apostle Paul described his life of discipleship this way: "Not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Cor. 3:5,6)

Without the Holy Spirit, a Christian would not be able to live for Christ. We are powerless to pull it off. And so the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost to empower the apostles to boldly proclaim the Gospel and to live for Christ. Pentecost was just as much of a miracle as Calvary. One earned forgiveness. The other "clothed" Christians with "power." (Luke 24:49)

If you are a believer, do you realize that your Christian life today is just as miraculous as the moment you were converted? You are flowing in power that you did not bring to the table. And God is producing fruit in you that you could never create yourself.

So remain in Christ and in His Word. Remain in prayer and in fellowship with other believers. Stay under the waterfall of God's grace moment by moment. And you will continue to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural peace of Christ.

The alternative is to "live in the flesh" as you attempt to do things in your own strength. But that is a recipe for disaster. And it's why Jesus said, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." (John 6:63)

Simply put, we need God filling our soul if we are going to live for Him on a daily basis. And in order for God to fill our soul, we need to yield to the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. Wherever sin presents itself, we need to learn to say "no." In other words, we must be emptied before we can be filled.

"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Such is the life of a Christian. Saved by grace, and also sanctified by grace. Saved in a moment, and sanctified over a lifetime.

But never forget. The lifelong process of sanctification is just as miraculous as the moment you were converted through faith in Christ. It's just that the first miracle was on the front end of your relationship with God, while the miracle of the Christian life is an ongoing reality in the heart of everyone who is born again.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.