We begin our Christian life by depending not upon our own doing but upon what Christ has done …
If someone makes a very unkind remark about you in your presence, how do you meet the situation? You compress your lips, clench your teeth, swallow hard, and take a firm grip upon yourself; and if with a great effort you manage to suppress all signs of resentment and be reasonably polite in return, you feel you have gained a great victory. But the resentment is still there; it has merely been covered up. And at times you do not even succeed in covering it. What is the trouble? The trouble is that you are trying to walk before you have sat down, and in that way lies sure defeat.
Let me repeat: No Christian experience begins with walking, but always with a definite sitting down. The secret of deliverance from sin is not to do something but to rest on what God has done.
An engineer living in a large city in the West left his homeland for the Far East. He was away for two or three years, and during his absence his wife was unfaithful to him and went off with one of his best friends. On his return home he found he had lost his wife, his two children, and his best friend. At the close of a meeting which I was addressing, this grief-stricken man unburdened himself to me. “Day and night for two solid years my hearth has been full of hatred,” he said. “I am a Christian, and I know I ought to forgive my wife and my friend, but though I try and try to forgive them, I simply cannot. Every day I resolve to love them, and every day I fail. What can I do about it?” “Do nothing at all,” I replied. “What do you mean?” he asked, startled. “Am I to continue to hate them?” So I explained: “The solution of your problem lies here, that when the Lord Jesus died on the Cross he not only bore your sins away but he bore you away too. When he was crucified, your old man was crucified in him, so that that unforgiving you, who simply cannot love those who have wronged you, has been taken right out of the way in his death. God has dealt with the whole situation in the Cross, and there is nothing left for you to deal with. Just say to him,“Lord, I cannot love and I give up trying, but I count on thy perfect love. I cannot forgive, but I trust thee to forgive instead of me, and to do so henceforth in me.”The man sat there amazed and said, “That’s all so new, I feel I must do something about it.” Then a moment later he added again, “But what can I do ?”
“God is waiting till you cease to do,” I said. “When you cease doing, then God will begin. Have you ever tried to save a drowning man? The trouble is that his fear prevents him trusting himself to you. When that is so, there are just two ways of going about it. Either you must knock him unconscious and then drag him to the shore, or else you must leave him to struggle and shout until his strength gives way before you go to his rescue. If you try to save him while he has any strength left, he will clutch at you in his terror and drag you under, and both he and you will be lost. God is waiting for your store of strength to be utterly exhausted before he can deliver you. Once you have ceased to struggle, he will do everything. God is waiting for you to despair.”
My engineer friend jumped up. “Brother,” he said, “I’ve seen it. Praise God, it’s all right now with me! There’s nothing for me to do. He has done it all!” And with radiant face he went off rejoicing.
– Excerpt from “Sit, Walk, Stand” by Watchman Nee