Have you ever been in a situation and the harder you tried the worse it seemed to get? This is the classic example of baseball players who are in a batting slump. They start over-analyzing the reasons why they’re not hitting the ball and what was natural now becomes forced and the situation becomes worse.

This situation also occurs in everyday life and ministry. The Apostle Paul gives us helpful advice and he shares his heart with the church at Corinth,

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, (2 Corinthians 3:5)

Paul realized that his source of strength and ministry effectiveness ultimately came from God. We must acknowledge our inadequacy and rely on God’s all-sufficiency. We see that we are unable to live the Christian life in our own strength – the sermon on the mount reveals this truth,

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

I can’t do this in my own strength! Someone once asked, “Is it difficult to live the Christian life?” The answer is, “No, it’s impossible – that’s why we need a Savior!”

You can take heart that your adequacy comes from God. God is sea of infinite substance! When you realize that your adequacy comes from God then you’re able to accomplish more than you realize. Paul reveals the source of our strength is the Holy Spirit,

who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

In the Greek New Testament there are two words for “new”. One word means new in time or recent, but that’s not the word that is used in this passage. The word that is used has the connotation of being qualitatively different. The new covenant establishes a new relationship between God and man – the letter brought condemnation, but the Spirit brings life and power.

God changes you from the inside out by changing your heart. You now have the Holy Spirit dwelling within giving you the power to do His will,

but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

The new covenant is a relationship of love much like the relationship between a father and his child. It not only tells you what to do, but it gives you the power to do it. Are you experiencing God’s strength in your life?

People have a tendency to stay with the old covenant because that enables them to play a role in working for their salvation – that’s an apt description of religion. The new covenant however, does not teach us to work for our salvation, but to work out our salvation. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus – not a religion of works to earn our salvation.

God offers us His strength when we come to Him. When the sun has risen, then we no longer need to light a lamp. Why should you settle for the shadow of God when you can have the reality?

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

Follow me on twitter:  rickhiggins5