“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” [Galatians 5:22-26 MSG]
Confession: More often than not, I am caught in a trap. This trap is the law, better known as legalism. This dirty little word shows up frequently in my life, though not in a flamboyant sense perhaps. I see it in the subtleties of my heart. I see it in my selfish attitude, when something isn’t done how my hypercritical mind would do it, and my skin crawls with irritation. I see it when I am responding to people. No matter how noble, my tendency is to blindly create a frenzied, packed out to the max, everything-all-at-once culture in my life per someone else’s request. I even see it in my closest friendships, while I jockey for position, thinking I need to do this or say that to ensure that I am a true friend, and vise versa.
Ugly. My life is ugly.
Galatians 5. I’ve been rereading this chapter for awhile because of the power it speaks into my life. Amongst the treachery of my own sin-stained, bound-by-law self, this passage is oxygen. When my heart gets tangled up in keeping the law, God’s way can pull me from that impossible obstacle course. I can finally catch a flare of hope! He can bring exuberance into my life. There’s no need to force my way in life. I can truly care for others, especially for those who are in need. These rays of fruitiness are what I really need. No rule-keeping is going to get me there. I simply have to choose life instead of law.
When I choose life, I crucify the law. The thing is, I think many times I merely entertain the thought of choosing life. I, as Paul says, hold it as a good idea in my head or a sentiment in my heart. I nee[eeeeee]d to take God’s way and put it into the smallest details of my life. I need not worry so much about me and the way I wish I was. God, in his infinite wisdom, made me an original. There’s something about me personally, that God purposed. There’s no one who is greater than or less than me. Shouldn’t I have greater things to think about than this? Like maybe… taking the Gospel to people who desperately need and seek it? And here I sit, holding my spiritual breath, depriving myself of God’s fresh air, unsure of whether I want to breath it in or not.
What a stark reminder of my need for a Savior, who offers me grace when I choose the law over the life of the Spirit!