Why I Gave Up Trying to Live the Christian Life

“For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest . . .”

~ Hebrews 4:10-11

Years ago I came to the place in my spiritual journey where I gave up trying to live the Christian life. Yep. I gave it up for Lent. Here are five reasons:

  1. I was sick and tired of failing and feeling frustrated at my attempts at being a “victorious” Christian.
  2. I came to the eye-opening conclusion that I couldn’t live the Christian life. If the Christian life was going to be lived, the Lord Himself was going to have to live it.
  3. I discovered that Jesus Himself didn’t try to live the Christian life. He said, “By myself I can do nothing.” Over and over again, Jesus testified that He did nothing of Himself, but lived by His Father’s indwelling life instead.
  4. I concluded that Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” wasn’t a special experience that only Paul had.
  5. I was tired of living in Romans 7 and desperately wanted to live in Romans 8. So I consigned myself to Romans 7:24, giving up the whole project. In so doing, everything changed.

The rest of the story is told in a conference message that I delivered five years ago entitled, “Living by the Spirit.” The message is a deeper-than-usual look at Romans 7 and 8. It presents the discoveries I made along the journey and why I believe the Christian life – and the living of it – is impossible for all of us. It’s only HIMpossible.

The message unpacks that statement.

One overlooked truth is that Romans 7 and 8 introduces us to three different life forms and four different laws. Understanding the significance of each and how they all work is vital. It’s all in the talk.

I wish every devoted Christian – especially those in their 20s and 30s – would put this talk on their iPods or smart phones and give it a listen. I also hope that you’ll share this post with your friends in that age group (via the Share buttons below) as it just may spare them many years of agony.

Click here to listen to Living by the Spirit.

Click Here to Receive a FREE Copy of My Upcoming Book – When the Pages Are Blank: How to Bring the Bible Back to Life - for a Limited Time.

About Frank Viola

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  • Frank Viola

    Not a contradiction. The kind of reasoning you’re giving voice to is not only a fleshly copy out, but it misses the point. Since we have the life of Christ available to us to live by, we’re responsible for living by Him and we’re also responsible for walking in the flesh and the effects it brings.

  • gilles lamoureux

    This is great. But what about the implications of your post entitled “Warning: The World is Watching How We Christians Treat One Another”?

    Isn’t it logical to think that if Christ is doing the work through me, that it is Christ people are watching? If I can’t do the work in my own power, why worry what people think at all? I will fail in my own power, and given that I grow in my relationship with Christ, it is likely people will see my failures as much as my successes, which are not mine by Christ who lives in me.

    In the end, I can only control my response to the Spirits promptings in heart and mind, and my actions are God’s, He who directs my steps.

    Please help me with this substantial contradiction.


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  • http://christianlythinkings.wordpress.com/ Stephen J. Higgins

    It is simply this …“Being a Christan is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Today we have few courageous Christians more ashamed of the cross ones. Fear of failure, fearful of what others think, not wanting to think and most of all it just not the right time to do so chrisitans.