I see it more now than I ever have! Religion and legalism has so infiltrated the truth of the Gospel that we tend to apologize, and make excuses for teaching a message of liberating Grace. We absolutely don’t have a clue what this kind of Grace will do, for us, and in us, in our daily lives. Because of that, we are continually pulling back to add to the Gospel.
We do that by saying with our mouths that it is only by Grace, and then we produce a list and add it on top of Grace hoping that this effort will produce in us what only he can produce. If we do not see the result that we want, we will change the list that we have compiled in great expectations that this time, somehow, it will work. If only we can find the right combination… that must be the key, Grace, plus, something required of us!
No, a thousand times no! My behavior, my love, my attitude, my thoughts, my emotions, and everything else, are all, did you get that, all aresponse to the unconditional love of our Father!! We are called to receive! Just receive!
How can it be…It’s Grace!
We are oblivious to the fact that love is a response, and cannot be produced in us just by willing to love. In the case of our Father, we love him because he first loved us, not because I am trying to love him more. But, the more I have his love revealed to me, the more I will love him. The more I know and experience his love, the more all my actions and behaviors will change. As I come to realize that his life is really in me, I will begin to express his characteristics in and through my life.
Works Or Spirit?
We would all say that, of course it is not by works, but it is by faith that righteousness is given to us. I agree, and I would also agree that if faith is alive, works will be present also. But, here is a good question for us all. As a believer, it tells us in the Word that there are only two ways to live, or walk. One is after the flesh (trying to meet our own needs), orin the Spirit. So, here is the question. If you as a believer walked in the Spirit, would that resolve your conflicts? In other words, if you needed to learn how to raise your kids, or be a better boss or husband, or stop addictive behaviors, or anything else, would walking in the Spirit be the answer? We have more books and seminars and t.v. shows about how to do all these things, yet we are failing miserably. What if we had training on how to walk in the Spirit. We could call it making disciples! (I hope you see the sarcasm)
Power From On High
Is there really a power from on high given to us to enable us to live as sons of God? I’m not sure we really grasp this. It seems that we think walking in the Spirit is just another facet to the Christian life rather that the whole life. Maybe we just need to define what walking in the Spirit is. It is recognizing our union with God as vital and real and not a separate part of us. It is seeing our total dependence on him. It is complete abandonment of our lives into his hands. It is coming to the end of our resources to try to live the Christian life in our own power. It is learning to see God in a completely new way. It is finding out that he is more interested in us than we have ever imagined. It is asking him to do in us what we have never been able to do, and that is live the Christian life like he would want us to, even in our desires that nobody else knows about. You see it is not about performing for him so he will be pleased with us and love us, but it is all about the fact that he is pleased with us and loves us, and we live in Union with him as the source of living water that flows through us…resulting in life! Real life! His life!
Are you in the flow? Do you sense living water in and around you?