It’s summertime and yard work is always on the agenda. A few Saturdays ago it was time to do yard work. My sweet wife offered to help as she always does. I usually reply, “It’s okay honey don’t worry about it,” but this time I accepted her offer. She wanted to cut the grass while I edged the driveway and flower beds. Whoever finished first would use the blower to clean any clippings from the walks and drive.
She had never used our new lawnmower, so I had to give her a few instructions before turning her loose. I gave her three simple instructions about operating the lawnmower:
- Hold down the safety bar
- Pull the crank rope to start the engine
- Empty the clippings from the catcher when full
Being the smart cookie that she is, she engaged the safety bar, pulled the rope, and the engine started. She was off and running. I thought to myself, “That’s my girl!” After about ten minutes I saw her sweating profusely, huffing and puffing, and struggling to push the mower through the grass. Then it dawned on me, “I forgot to tell her to hold down the self-propel lever on the mower.” Oops, my bad! She was pushing the mower in her own strength through the grass without the benefit of the power available from the mower itself. I felt badly about this but a big smile crossed her face when she discovered the lawnmower was self-propelled.
Very often we as Christians are cutting the grass without the benefit of self-propulsion. In other words, we attempt to live the Christan life in our own strength. Zechariah 4:6b says, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. This statement well summarizes how we as Christians should live our lives: empowered by the Spirit of God. Too often we TRY to be good and TRY to do things right only to discover that living life in our own might is frustrating. The Apostle Peter restates this truth from Zechariah by saying that we should obey through the Spirit (1Peter 1:22). Paul states this similarly in Romans 8:13 by saying we should perfect what we do through the Spirit. In other words we are to ask for God’s help in the things we do on a daily basis. If we never ask for help we are living in our own strength. But, when we ask for God’s help we receive self-propulsion from the Spirit of God.