Leaning Back in the Spirit

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We may have gifts, talents, skills, and energy, but we should use them while refusing to depend on them. Instead, we should depend on God.

My first experience water-skiing did not go well. No matter how often I was told not to try to pull myself up, instinct took over. I tried to pull myself up—the worst thing a skier can do. Instead of skiing along the surface, I flopped in the water and was dragged mercilessly by the boat. It was terribly frustrating.

That’s a pretty good picture of how many of us try to live the Christian life. We try to pull ourselves up into the resurrection power we’ve been promised. That’s understandable; it’s human instinct. But it doesn’t work. It’s terribly frustrating.

The key to both water-skiing and living in the Spirit is not to pull ourselves up; it’s to lean back into the force. In both cases, we are being carried along by something much more powerful than ourselves. We can’t exert our own strength and receive the greater strength simultaneously; we have to choose one or the other. Clearly, the choice to defer to the greater strength is better.

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead really does work within us if we will let him (Ephesians 1:19-20; 3:20). We may have gifts, talents, skills, and energy, but we use them while refusing to depend on them. We depend instead on God. It’s a counter-intuitive way to live, but it’s far more fruitful. And it never leaves us floundering in the deep.

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