Christians must discover contentment the old-fashioned way: We must learn it.

…It is commanded of us, but, paradoxically, it is created in us, not done by us.  It is not the product of a series of actions, but of a renewed and transformed character.

…This seems a difficult principle  for Christians today to grasp.  Clear directives for Christian living are essential for us.  But, sadly, much of the heavily pragmatic teaching in evangelicalism places such a premium on external doing and acheiving that character development is set at a discount.  We live in the most pragmatic society on earth (if anyone can ‘do it,’ we can).  It is painful to pride to discover that the Christian life is not rooted in what we can do, but in what we need done to us.   -Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone 

The Christian life is anything but an exercise in self-will.  The gospel message is the quintessential anti self-help message—a message that says we haven’t, we can’t, and we never will.  We are powerless to save ourselves.  And get this, we are unable to change ourselves.

We offer zilch.

Salvation is of the Lord.  (-Jonah 2:9b, ESV)

A cruel reality for many of us is this: God helps those who can’t help themselves—a tough pill to swallow for us self-assured American believers who’ll beat ourselves to a pulp before we let anyone save us.  But unless we can somehow, by the grace of God, let go of our efforts to save ourselves, we never were saved to begin with.  How we need help!

As Ferguson reminds us, The Christian life is not rooted in what we can do, but in what we need done to us.

Helping ourselves isn’t even an option. 

We need something we can’t provide.

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