Not By Striving Or Human Effort
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing – if it really was for nothing? Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?” Galatians 3: 1-5
Very strong words here from Paul directed at people foolishly trying to obey and follow the law and live by human effort rather than by The Spirit. Who hasn’t been there? Regretfully I know that I have at times visited there during my walk of faith. It is a very easy place to find yourself, especially in the western world; where manifest destiny and pulling yourself up by your own boot straps is the norm. From the time we learn how to walk we are taught by society and the media that self dependence is the goal of life. Unfortunately we have been taught many lies by the powers that be.
Quite frankly many of those lies have been told from pulpits. The “church” is not immune from teaching and preaching works righteousness. It happens every Sunday, all the time. The notion that one can tithe and give their way to financial blessing and success is just warped. It manipulates people to give more money towards building funds, Clergy salaries, and institutional maintenance. It also taints ones views about God, saying that God’s blessings can be bought and earned. Which ultimately portrays God as someone who can be manipulated by people with the best financial portfolio.
Many churches also teach that we need to be led by the bible and that whoever knows the bible the best wins. This type of thinking destroys real unity because it elevates bible scholars and professional ministers over and above everyone else in the church. Learning the bible is excellent when the Spirit leads one there, but studying the bible in the flesh with the mere mind is just another form of dead works. I will say it here one more time: We need to be Spirit led and not bible led. Spirituality is always preferable over intellectualism.
So which will it be? Will we follow The Spirit or will we try and make it on human effort in our flesh? I went to a “Christian” college and studied a lot of bible, but much of my time in the scriptures was purely human effort and not much Spirit at all. Due to great human effort and HIS Grace I did very well in school, but after school and in real life I found that I needed to hear and be led by The Voice of The Spirit and not by my knowledge of the bible. It is totally possible to do good and very Spiritual looking things in the arm of the flesh. You can write and give sermons led by mere intellect and flesh. You can tithe in the flesh by giving to get. You can read and interpret the bible in the flesh. You can observe the law in the flesh…. and the list goes on and on and on…..
Bottom line on all of this…. we need GRACE..the unmerited favor of The Lord in order to do His will. We get nowhere, or worse, by trying to do anything by mere human effort. Jesus sent The Spirit to lead us into all truth and the only way to get to the real truth is by The Holy Spirit’s leading. It requires surrender and not ANY form of human effort. It takes no effort whatsoever to surrender other than to throw your arms up and quit striving. Problem is most of the time instead of surrendering we just try to negotiate treaties with God. My friends it takes true total unconditional surrender to get to where Jesus wants us to be. The sooner we admit that, the sooner we will really get somewhere in this faith. Always remember it is all about faith and not works. Today, I choose to surrender and stop striving. I won’t know about tomorrow until it comes, but in Christ I have high hopes.
Love and …..
Kirk Out !