How many of you reading this have ever run out of gas in your vehicle? So far it hasn’t happened to me but oh, I’ve been close, trust me! The fuel light came on miles ago and I’m just waiting for the car to start jugging, indicating that I have pushed it too far and am now about out of gas. Even if like me you haven’t pushed your luck too far, at least not yet, we all understand what the problem is. The vehicle looks all nice and shiny, the fluid levels are topped off and the tires are properly inflated. But no matter how hard you try, without fuel the vehicle is going nowhere.
Though it is a rather menial example, it does paint the idea of a subject that is in two of our reading passages for today. In Eph 3:14-16 we read of Paul saying, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” What is it that gives us the needed strength in our lives? It’s God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, doing a work in our lives. It’s not our strength but His.
Flipping over to the OT we read in Ez.36:26-27 we read, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” What is it that would cause the children of Israel to walk in God’s laws and statutes? God’s Spirit resulting in essentially a new heart.
So taking these two passages together, what can we learn? Quite frankly, without God doing a supernatural work in our hearts we can accomplish nothing of any spiritual value. Nothing. No amount of Bible reading, Bible college or church attendance can change our carnal hearts. It has to be God doing a work in our lives. That work starts at salvation, a transforming work that only He can accomplish. But it doesn’t end there, that is just the start. Any change and growth in our lives is because of Him being at work. May we learn not to lean on our strength, wisdom and desires but firmly trust in the One who can bring about lasting change in our lives as we yield to him.