It's only when we are emptied of ourselves that we can be filled with the Spirit of God. As long as we have the option of trusting in our own strength, most of us will. While we long for God to meet us in the dramatic and the miraculous, the majority of the Christian life is lived in the midst of the ordinary.
How often do we find ourselves chasing after things that do not bring life? Jesus taught that life was found in him alone. And yet, we often return to old patterns of life. It’s even possible for our acts of Christian devotion to lead us away from God if they become the object of our affections instead of a means of experiencing God. Paul’s words are both a strong warning and a tender plea to pursue only Christ.
Armed with a living hope, we are called to enter into new life. The futility of our former life has been replaced by new desires and new appetites. Holiness, however, is not a foregone conclusion in this life. We are called to enter into the process with grace-driven effort, striving toward the hope that we've been given by grace through faith in Jesus.