Note from Jesus
Dear Child of the King,
You may have noticed in our time together the last few days that I have had you read from Galatians and/or James in your Bible. These two letters were written to very different groups of people, with different religious backgrounds, but with similar concerns. Those concerns as stated from the viewpoint of the recipients of the letters were these:
- How am I supposed to live a righteous life if I don’t live by the law?
- Can I call myself a disciple of Jesus if I don’t do what the Father says, and I don’t display the Father’s righteous character and gracious compassion in my life?
- What about those who live in ways that are in rebellion to the character of the Father — don’t they need to live under the law?
- What about those who claim to be Christians, but don’t live righteously and appear to be hypocrites?
In today’s verses, Paul emphasizes that the law cannot do what the Spirit can do to answer these questions. The Spirit comes and brings My power to transform you. Remember what I promised shortly before My death, burial, resurrection, and ascension:
“I tell you the truth: whoever believes in Me will be able to do what I have done, but they will do even greater things, because I will return to be with the Father. … I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, Who will remain constantly with you.”
(John 14:12, 16)
Through prayer and the empowering presence of the Spirit within you individually, as well as the Spirit working through you collectively, I AM at work in you. I AM also at work through you to do these “greater things.” The law cannot give you this power and cannot fulfill this promise. Only the presence and power of the Holy Spirit can.
You began your walk with Me through the work of the Holy Spirit. I have done great things among you, within you, and through you by the power of the Spirit. Do not depend on law-keeping in an attempt to be holy and to live righteous lives. I want you to understand that life, especially a life of character and devotion to God, is like a holy dance. In this dance of life, you can lead the dance and allow the sinful desires of the flesh to control the direction of your dance. Or, you can be led by the Spirit, and the Spirit’s fruit of holy character — “unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” — will shine through in your life.
How are you going to be led by the Spirit? I want you to know that the dance of life with the Spirit in the lead begins here:
[S]et aside [y]our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy.
After committing yourself to Me, your first step in this dance of holy living is to consciously set aside your own desire. Give up your fleshly focus and self-interest. This submission is keeping “each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit.” Keeping in step with the Spirit happens because you consciously and willfully ask the Spirit to take the lead in the dance of your life. As you offer yourself to Me, ask that the Father keep pouring the Spirit’s power and presence into your life (Luke 11:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:8).
The Holy Spirit is like a permanent heavenly guest in your life. The Spirit will not intrude into the secret places of your self-will and self-interest unless you invite Him and yield to His leading in your dance of life. However, the more you consciously and intentionally ask your heavenly guest to take control, the more the Spirit will exert His influence. The apostle Paul pointed to the following ways to offer the Spirit the lead in your dance of life:
- Speak to one another in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs.
- Make music in your heart to God.
- Give thanks in all circumstances.
- Submit to one another as you reverence Me in your heart.
- Let the message about Me be your strong defense against the influence of evil in your life.
- Pray consciously depending upon the Spirit to be at work in your prayers.
- Be alert.
(Ephesians 5:15-21; Ephesians 6:17-18)
You began your holy dance being led by the Spirit. Continue to invite the Spirit to lead. As you do, you will notice your life becoming more and more like the life you saw Me live (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
Verses to Live
Dear follower, know that I long to do greater things in you and through you and for you through the power of the Holy Spirit. So let the Spirit lead the dance of your life. When you do, you will find that you will not need a law to tell you what to do. Rather than trying to obey a law, you will find “each step in perfect sync” with the Spirit!
Galatians, don’t act like fools! Has someone cast a spell over you? Did you miss the crucifixion of Jesus the Anointed that was reenacted right in front of your eyes? Tell me this: Did the Holy Spirit come upon you because you lived according to the law? Or was it because you heard His message of grace through faith? Are you so foolish? Do you think you can perfect something God’s Spirit started with any human effort? Have you suffered so greatly for nothing — if it was indeed for nothing? You have experienced the Spirit He gave you in powerful ways. Miracle after miracle has occurred right before your eyes in this community, so tell me: did all this happen because you have kept certain provisions of God’s law, or was it because you heard the gospel and accepted it by faith?
Here’s my instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings. For everything the flesh desires goes against the Spirit, and everything the Spirit desires goes against the flesh. There is a constant battle raging between them that prevents you from doing the good you want to do. But when you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.
It’s clear that our flesh entices us into practicing some of its most heinous acts: participating in corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, envy of others’ good fortune, drunkenness, drunken revelry, and other shameful vices that plague humankind. I told you this clearly before, and I only tell you again so there is no room for confusion: those who give in to these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us.
Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy.
Response in Prayer
Almighty God — Father, Son, and Spirit — thank You for Your grace that has brought forgiveness, cleansing, new life, and the power for me to live my new life in Jesus. Today, dear Father, I am aware of the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift Jesus promised and then sent to me to be in me and to be with me until I find myself at home with You. May I never do anything to grieve the Spirit or put out the Spirit’s fire. I offer myself to be led by the Spirit. I yield my will to have the Spirit work Your transformation in me. I ask that the Spirit fully conform me into the likeness of my Savior, Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.