Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Galatians 3: 3

 

There are times when Paul speaks with the subtlety of a marching band that is striking up a spirited rendition of its college fight song at 5:00A.M right outside your bedroom window. The intent is to wake up the sleeper and startle the hearer into fully alert listening. I fear that at times I am that sleeper, that person who knows Christ but who lives as if he really isn’t any different than the world that my Lord’s blood redeemed me out of. I have no doubt that I am Spirit filled, but I also seem to be very good at functioning as if that reality is more of a situational convenience than a totally new identity.

 

Observing a very similar phenomenon in his beloved spiritual children was very frustrating to Paul, and living in its effect is, in fact, frustrating to me. One of the issues that Paul was dealing with is much like a part of what I do as well. I don’t want to let control over my life slip away. I desire to keep myself in a position where I get to have the final say regarding what I do, where I go, and especially who I engage with. In this approach to life, the Holy Spirit may advise me, but I get to make my own assessments and determine how I conduct my own affairs. Thus I am a believer in Christ, but I am not truly His disciple.

 

Jesus gave all for our sakes and for the glory of the Kingdom of God. He was all in without reservation or any form of holdback. When we commit to Him, Christ asks the same of us. There is no compromise, no reworking of the truth, and no place to go in order to take a break from the Lord’s call to follow Him and to live out His gospel. Yet, rather than placing a burden upon us, this fully committed and engaged form of following Christ sets us absolutely free. The Holy Spirit dwells within us. He sets up housekeeping within us, and as we allow, He reorders our thoughts, emotions, and reasoning to conform to those of God. In surrender to the Spirit we move toward perfection. In surrender to Christ’s calling and will we live freely in the power of the Spirit.