Here is what God has me chewing on today...From The Message, Galatians chapter 5.
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.
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.
(Here's the command, y'all) 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 in an original.
I was recently in a Sunday School class where we were discussing Spiritual Parenting. The topic of this discussion was about whether or not some people were meant to be parents. People were going back and forth about the convenience of being childless and how you really have to be selfless to be a good parent. It seemed kind of like a debate...and I thought the whole thing was pretty self-centered. I'm sure I wouldn't have seen it that way if I wasn't in my current situation, so I thank God, once again, for perspective! Anyway, I eventually found a place to interject my thoughts and said that our utmost reason for living is to serve the Lord. And perhaps some people are in a position where serving the Lord is better done without babies, but who are we to say? And I wondered aloud if raising children is part of serving the Lord...it does seem to me that parenting is referred to quite a bit in God's Word. I don't really remember everything that said at the time, but what I do remember is the leader's response: "Well, Erin, that is quite an intellectual and spiritual thought, but I think if we're realistic..." And then my blood pressure went up because I don't understand how striving to serve the Lord is unrealistic.
We are called to be like Christ, for Pete's sake!! No, it's not easy. But the more we rely on Him, the more He is in us and working through us. I'm working on heeding God's Word, "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." And I'm not doing this to be a "good Christian", I don't even understand what that means. I'm doing this because Christ did it and the more I seek God and obey Him, the fuller I become. Full of His Spirit and the fruits of His Spirit.
I'm afraid so many people have chosen the life of Christ, but they're not living it. It seems impossible to live. And it is, it sure is!! But only if you're trying to do it on your own. I wonder, is that "trying to do it on your own" true legalism? I don't know, I'm just thinking aloud.
It seems I have spent too much time blogging this morning and am now late getting Jackson to school.
Peace be with you all!