4 Minute Read + Scripture readings


Jeremiah 8:8–9:26
Colossians 3:1-17
Psalm 78:32-55
Proverbs 24:27


Colossians 3:13 (CSB): “bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.”


Quite often, as we read our Bibles, we are confronted with the fact that is seems impossible to live the life that God has called us to live. We simply cannot obey His commandments to the degree that He has called us to obey them.

For instance, I was just reflectively reading though Colossians 3:1-17 and came across the second half of verse 13. It says: “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.”

That command is an impossibility, my friend. If we think that we are living up to that standard, we are ill-informed as to the true condition of our heart. Absolutely none of us can completely forgive and love the person who daily lives in opposition to God and His Word and who is actively working toward our destruction and death.

As men surrounded Jesus who had cried out for His death and who had nailed him to the torturous cross, Jesus looked on them with compassion and said: “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Friend, can you forgive to that level? I cannot. To be completely honest, I don’t have it in me.

So, then why would God call us to live up to a standard that is impossible for us to obey? Does He want us to live in a constant state of frustration and self-loathing at our inability to comply with His good commands?

No. Of course not. God loves us too much to set us up for failure.

So, what is God doing when He gives us commands that are impossible for us to comply with?

Simply put, God’s standards are a clear reminder that we are no more able, on our own, to live the Christian life after we are saved than before we are saved. The only way we can live up to God’s standard is to recognize our dependence upon and submission to Jesus who lives inside every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). We cannot obey God’s commands but Jesus in us can and will if we fully depend upon and submit to Him.

So, friend, are you trying to live the Christian life in your own strength? Good luck with that and get accustomed to failure.

But, if you realize that you cannot do it but Jesus in you can, and as you, moment-by-moment, depend upon Him to live His life out through you, you will experience spiritual victory much more often. But, you won’t be filled with pride at your growing degree of holiness. You will be filled with gratitude for what Jesus is doing in and through you.