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? Consider Abraham: He believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness.
What stood out to me this week was the verse: After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Oh, I fall into this trap all the time! I believe that it is by God’s grace that I receive salvation. I began with the Spirit. And yet, in my day to day walk, I try to attain my goals by human effort. When I say “my” goals, I’m not solely referring to things I want to achieve in life. I’m also including the goals I believe God gave me, so having misdirected or selfish goals isn’t even my point here. Even the things I’m “supposed” to do, I try to do through my own effort. I started out on this journey recognizing I couldn’t do it on my own, but after the Spirit got me through the hard part (ie making me righteous in His sight) somehow I turn back to Him and say, “Thanks. I’ll take it from here.”
Daily I battle my desire for independence and control. Daily I have to turn my life back over to God. But as Paul notes, to begin with the Spirit and then try to attain my goal by human effort is foolish. It’s as if someone cast a spell on me, clouding my vision and making me forget what God has done. In some ways, the Christian life should be so easy. God wants to work in our lives. He wants to give us wisdom and direction. He already granted to us everything we need for life and godliness. Yet, we let our selfishness and independence get in the way and make it difficult. Oh, that I would step aside and allow Him to work.
Lord, help me to allow you to truly be Lord in my life. Remind me of my beginnings with your Spirit. I don’t want to be foolish. All of my efforts are in vain if I don’t have you at the center. Help me to not attempt to attain my goal through human effort. I am not justified by observing the law but by faith in you. I need your grace daily. Thank you for your Spirit. I just want to please you. I love you.