A SEDAN awaits me in the driveway. Already in love with my new form of transportation, I climb onto the pretty leather seat and start pushing the knobs. Nothing turns on. I flip the long stick-like things protruding from behind the black ring that resembles a ship’s wheel. Nothing activates my new car. Maybe it’s broken.
Then I remember the key in my pocket. I take it out and inspect it, running my fingers over the jagged edge. Where’s the keyhole? I heard automobiles can play music, and I wonder if songs will automatically start playing as soon as I turn the key. If it plays country music, I’ll have to exchange this country sedan for a jazz model.
I finally find the keyhole. It’s within arm’s reach—how convenient. I insert and turn…. Nothing. Frantic to start my new car, I press buttons with my free hand while my feet press pedals—whoa! The engine comes to life with a strange, screechy roar. Oh the joys of trial and error. I’m now ready to hit the road, as they say. I’m guessing the big ring that’s crowding my personal space might come in handy. I’ll give her a whirl….
IS that an unbelievable scenario? What new driver would learn to drive from a flight manual, or worse, not consult an authority on driving? Well, believe it or not . . .
WHAT kinds of things do those of us who profess to be Christians rely on to teach us how to live? A self-help book? Media? Parents? The pastor’s/priest’s interpretation of scripture?
How are these methods working for us?
I see too many people trying to live according to the wrong manuals—and single-handedly.
I recently came across this scenario in Galatians 5. Turns out it’s an age-old issue that affects my freedom and success in life,
Verse 25 shook me up. “Since we are living (given life) by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
My physical birth came with desires that are limited to worldly thinking. My spiritual birth gave me a whole new nature and access to unlimited, supernatural reasoning. IDEALLY then, I should learn to rely on Spirit influence instead of on the old nature.
(This concept should excite you.)
ST. Paul was inspired to write truths that would apply timelessly to all ages. In chapter 5, he points out that the church was turning to religion (in his case, circumcision and the old Law) to guide them in living a reformed and renewed life.
Was that working for them?
“7 You were running the race so well.
Who has held you back from following the truth? 8
It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom
15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another,
watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”
SO WHAT exactly did they need to be doing?
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.
Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
17 The sinful nature wants to do evil…
And the Spirit gives us desires
that oppose what the sinful nature desires.
These two forces are constantly fighting each other,
so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
HOW ABOUT ME? I have good intentions. But am I living an abundant and empowered life or am I sacrificing my FREEDOM in favor of selfish independence?
v.25 does NOT read “Since we are living (given life) by the Spirit, let us follow man’s ideas in every part of our lives.”
“Statistical research shows that less than 10% of professing Christians have ever read the entire Bible. The church as a whole is biblically illiterate!”
Don’t be a statistic!
KNOW THE WORD intimately, and you won’t be held back by any worldly inaccuracy presented as truth.
1) Set a daily fixed time for reading and prayer and then be there
2) Prepare your mind/heart with worship. Play a couple of worship songs
3) Ask the Holy Spirit to open your spiritual eyes and ears and give you understanding
4) Read a chapter, or two if you have time (one in the OT, one in the NT)
5) Journal and pray about what speaks to you
6) Don’t skip any part of 1-5
Warning: Watch out for publications
that makes the presumptuous claims
that they offer “God’s way” of doing something
Let this raise a red flag in your mind.
It’s likely filled with tainted truths or legalism.
Author’s note: I don’t play around with God’s word. Every spiritual message I post, I first submit to a sister in Christ who is committed to the Bible. If she tells me my interpretation is off, I reevaluate and sometimes willingly can it.