There is a spiritual tension between two concepts of what we must do to become all that God intended us to be – to live in a way that pleases Him.
On the one hand, we are incapable (Romans 5:6) of overcoming our own sin patterns and pleasing God by white-knuckling obedience, trying to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. The Law came to show us that we would be unable to keep it, to convince us that we needed very much to be rescued in our helplessness. The only way out of this pit we are in is to abide in Christ, who can make us what He wants us to be (John 15:5). In Colossians 3:1-4, Paul says the same thing – that we must focus our mind’s eye on Jesus, where our true life is protected within the life of Christ. This abiding will result in His living His life through us (Galatians 2:20).
“This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15
On the other hand, there is much in scripture (such as in the rest of this chapter 3 of Colossians) that strongly exhorts us to exert much effort in obeying the stated teachings of Christ and principles of the Law. On our own, this effort results only in failure and frustration. But as we consciously depend on Him and draw from His power to do what we cannot do on our own, He makes our efforts fruitful.
Even if our Daddy is holding the seat of our bicycle, we must still pedal like crazy to move forward and stay erect