Joe Louis complained to his manager, Mike Jacobs, when he lost the world’s heavyweight boxing title: “You can’t do it when you don’t got it.” It’s as true in living the Christian life as it is in boxing—you’ve got to have power to be successful.
God never intended you to live the Christian life in your own strength. I might as well expect a light to burn without being attached to electricity, or a car to run without gasoline, or a glove to grasp an object without a hand in it as to expect to live the Christian life without Christ. The Christian life does not consist of believing in Jesus so that your sins can be forgiven and you can have a hope of heaven and then try as hard as you can, by yourself, in your own strength, to live by the dos and don’ts of the Bible.
If Jesus is just an example we are to try to copy, then the good news is not good news at all—it is very bad news. It asks of us the impossible and leads only to despair.
The power, the dynamic of the Christian life is the Holy Spirit. When you believe in Christ his Spirit comes to live in you to give you the power necessary for victorious living. You ask, “How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?” You must yield your life completely to him.
Robert Munger wrote a wonderful little book called My Heart, Christ’s Home where he compares our heart to rooms of a home. Up until this moment the Holy Spirit has been a guest in your house, for he came to live with you the moment you became a Christian. Sometimes he was locked up in a small closet while you used the rest of the house for your own pleasure. Now you want him to be more than a guest—as a matter of fact, Munger says, you want to turn over the title deed of the house of your life to him and give him the keys to every room. You invite the Holy Spirit into the library of your mind, the dining room of your appetites, the parlor of your relationships, the game room of your social life. You invite him into the small, hidden rooms where you have previously engaged in secret, shameful activities. Now that he is in control, he will enable you to live victoriously.
“Just preacher talk,” you say. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.