The Key to the Christian Life
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Watch The Key to the Christian Life video.
Memory Verse: Colossians 1:24-29
I. Introduction: No one can live the Christian life in his own strength. Yet so many people try to do just that. They know God has saved them, but in practice, they believe a life that pleases Him is possible only through their efforts. This is how I felt for many years.
Finally, God used They Found the Secret—a little book consisting of 20 spiritual biographies—to reveal something I had never realized: The key to the Christian life is to allow Christ to live His life through you. This truth revolutionized my walk with the Lord.
II. Our Condition Before Salvation
A. Our sins separated us from God.
B. Except for prayers of repentance, the Lord didn’t hear our petitions (Isa. 59:2).
C. Before salvation, we were dead spiritually and under God’s wrath (Eph. 2:1-3).
III. What Transpired at Salvation
A. The Holy Spirit must first convict us that we need God’s forgiveness (John 16:7-8).
B. We confess––or agree with the Lord––that we have disobeyed Him.
C. We trust that Jesus’ death on the cross paid the debt we owed for sin, thereby allowing us to be fully forgiven.
D. Repentance, or turning away from our old lifestyles, is another vital part of salvation (2 Cor. 5:17).
E. Once we are saved, our guilt is washed away, and we are assured of eternal life. But we still have two problems.
1. Our world is full of rebellion, disobedience, corruption, and wickedness.
2. We still have what the Bible calls “the flesh,” or that part of us that, because of old patterning, desires to rebel against God.
IV. God’s Provision for the Christian Life
A. Jesus came into our lives to live through us. (See John 17:22-23.) We died to our old lives and were raised to new life. This is one reason why Scripture refers to salvation as being “born again” (John 3:3).
B. At the moment of conversion, the Holy Spirit comes to reside within us. When we rely on Him, He helps us think, act, and react as Jesus would in our place (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:1-5; Phil. 1:21).
C. Each morning, we should commit ourselves to God and ask Him to live through us that day. We will still experience temptation and adversity, but now we know it’s not necessary to face those things in our own strength.
D. Jesus came to live His life within us because:
1. He knew that we would be unable to follow His commands on our own (see Acts 1:8).
2. He accomplishes His work here on earth by living through us. We will never be perfect, but we should “[strive] according to His power,” not our own (Col. 1:29).
3. He desires to have an intimate relationship with us.
V. Allowing Christ to Live Through You
What steps should you take if you desire to let Jesus live His life through you?
A. Admit your failure. Acknowledge that you have tried to live the Christian life and been unsuccessful.
B. Confess your inadequacy. Realize that you cannot achieve spiritual victory on your own.
C. Acknowledge that Christ is sufficient. Since He is God, he has the ability to meet all your needs.
D. Abandon your life to Him. Let go of your own efforts to “be a good Christian” or “do enough” to please Him. Instead, rely on His strength.
E. Confess it to be true. In other words, state out loud, “Jesus, please live Your life through me. I surrender to Your will and yield myself to You.”
Who is in charge of your life—you or Jesus Christ? If you are wise, you will allow the Son of God to direct you each day. Let Him give you guidance, direction, and power to make godly choices. Does that mean you will escape all problems, heartaches, and burdens? No. Nor does it mean that you will never sin again. But you won’t have to struggle on your own. Instead, you can walk in the power of the living God—and that is life at its very best.