“If you can teach a dog to be a Christian, then you can teach a man to be a Christian. There is none who can live the Christian life but Christ.”

There Is A Grand Canyon Between You and Jesus

There is a Grand Canyon between you and Jesus
Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

# 35 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: There is a Grand Canyon between you on your best day and Jesus on his worst. Being “Christlike” is a fallacy. Genuine Christianity has never been about imitation or method acting.

A Grand Canyon of Difference

Take honest inventory of your spiritual life, and you’ll realize there is a Grand Canyon between you and Jesus. Even on your best day, when you’ve dressed up, said your prayers, had a devotional time, listened to Christian music, and meditated on God—you cannot produce the Spiritual resource needed to live the Christian life. That resource is Christ Himself, through the person and power of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, dear friend, even dear brethren, there is a Grand Canyon between you and Jesus, the gulf formed by the differing sources of power relied upon for life.

Allow me to introduce Watchman Nee (cover your toes)

Watchman Nee, a Chinese National and Christian author, in his book Not I, but Christ, stirred controversy when he wrote this:

“If you can teach a dog to be a Christian, then you can teach a man to be a Christian. There is none who can live the Christian life but Christ.”

This quote, also from Nee, is like it:

God is not seeking a display of my Christ-likeness, but a manifestation of His Christ.

~ Watchman Nee

and finally this:

We think of the Christian life as a ‘changed life’ but it is not that. What God offers us is an ‘exchanged life,’ a ‘substituted life,’ and Christ is our Substitute within.

~ Watchman Nee

Follow the links provided to learn more. His writing will change your view of the Christian life.

Christianity as strength training

In my 35 years as a believer, I’ve seen many good-hearted people and many well-meaning preachers speak and act as if being a good Christian is like going to the gym. Through your disciplined efforts; you get stronger and stronger. Soon, you can do more and more reps. Gradually, you get fit; you lose weight. You keep working at it, persevering to put in the effort to get the results, feeling the smile of God, and being congratulated by your fellow-believers for all your dedicated, inspiring work. Work hard enough and your life gets better. But, it’s hard, relentless work. Friend, I’ve been you.

The gym for Christians is church attendance and prayer and bible study and meetings and maybe tithing or doing some good works. It’s stopping drinking and smoking and cussing and listening to bad music and hanging out with bad people (any non-Christians). It is voting the right way and saying the right things and replacing the magnets on your refrigerator with bible verses.

Is this as good as it gets until we die and go to Heaven

But it is also mingled with failure and discouragement. It is struggling with habitual sin, and backsliding and repenting, and keeping up appearances and attending services—but still being defeated. So you grit your teeth and say, “God is Good.” But you can’t escape the gnawing, empty feeling that there has to be more to the Christian life than what you’re experiencing. And all the while, you blame yourself for your lack of “progress”, and feel guilty for letting God down. But you hang in there knowing that Heaven will be worth all the hard work and effort.

The typical idea suggests that one can become a “strong Christian”. In some circles, you’ll actually hear that term applied to particularly zealous and serious examples. The truth is—when we are weak, then we are strong, for then Christ’s power can rest upon us. God will let us be as strong as we want to be, but God is attracted to weakness.

That’s why He likes me so much. 😉

(And will be attracted to you the same way; as soon as you embrace your weakness as I have my own.)

The Canyon separates Jesus from self-empowered fiasco

I say, there’s a Grand Canyon between us and Jesus if that’s the extent of it.

It is either Christ manifesting Himself in and through us, or it is a human fiasco dressed up in church clothes saying churchy things. Many of the things we try to do for God are performed, not by the Spirit, but by self conjured effort, relying on our own “wisdom” and willpower, not on the power of God. Perhaps that’s why we see little of it in our day.

What God wants done by us, He will do in and through us. Let’s not confuse that into thinking that anything we say or do in the Name of Jesus is done by Jesus. It’s just not.

Please don’t take offense. If you understand me correctly, and accept my motivation for writing this, you’ll embrace the living Christ to manifest Himself in and through you. The true Christian life has always been about who Jesus is and what He is in us, not about you or me. He’s the only one who can live the life He’s called us to live, let’s trust Him to do just that, shall we? Because there is a Grand Canyon between you and Jesus.

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