I'm reading Larry Crabb's book, "The Pressure's Off" and I thought he does an excellent job of explaining the struggle to live an abiding, abundant life in Christ. He speaks about the Old Way of the Law vs. the New Way of the Spirit of God. The difference of doing things in our own strength and for our own purposes and living in the strength of God for His purposes. This difference is everything! The rest is from Larry Crabb:
When any ambition other than drawing near to God assumes first-place significance in our hearts, whether the ambition is blatantly self-serving or clearly kingdom-advancing, we’re living in the Old Way. Drawing near to God will purify our desires and energize godly ambitions to counsel well, preach powerfully and write helpful books, and that’s good. When our first-place privilege of nearness to God remains in first place, we abide in the vine...the fruit grows on the branch. That’s New Way living.
But the moment we let our desires for blessings become demands, the moment we expect blessings to come because we've met the requirements for God to grant them, the moment we think any blessing other than nearness to God is essential to life is therefore promised now, we've chosen to live the Old Way. And that means we've forfeited the opportunity to experience supernatural reality and must now depend upon our own resources to arrange for the blessings we want. We end up leading natural lives, lives energized by the flesh no matter how religiously disguised.
Preaching good sermons, raising good kids, building good friendships, developing good ministries, running good businesses – they all become activities of the flesh. The pressure’s on. We have to get it right to get what we want most.
At conversion, the Spirit placed four distinct resources within us that make supernatural living possible:
Ø A New Purity that makes us clean in God’s sight even when we roll in the mud
Ø A New Identity that permits no labels other than ones like saint, child of God, beloved, and heaven-bound pilgrim to be accurately pinned on us;
Ø A New Disposition that actually prefers holiness to sin;
Ø A New Power to draw near to God as a forgiven heir who long to behold the beauty of the Lord.
When we choose to pursue the Better Life of Blessings over the Better Hope of Intimacy, these resources become useless...
Christ promises no help when you make it your goal to secure certain blessings by doing good things You can pray and fast and attend seminars and buy books and double-tithe and refuse cable service on your television and practice contemplative prayer and never miss an anniversary or your son’s ball games – the resources of the Spirit will have no value to you at all. God will not help us live the Old Way.
Excerpt From Larry Crabb’s book, “The Pressure’s Off” pp. 53-54