It’s in the line of duty that calmness and withitness are required. It is just when you are lapsing in your focus, just when you are starting to become self-indulgent, that the need for self-discipline is paramount.
It’s in the gaps, in the 10 minuteses and the quarters of an hour, that the greatness of the individual achievement is measured. What appears to be an insignificant habit, over the course of many days, becomes a troublesome hurdle and eventually an overwhelming millstone that you could collapse under. What initially was just a pleasant thought, becomes a habit often indulged, and all too soon a vice that has you round the throat.
It’s only when you know that you are starting from a place of total freedom and complete righteousness, that you ever feel you have a hope of allowing the Holy Spirit to one day – through His grace – complete that work of sanctification and fire in you.
Reading the book of Galatians through different eyes is becoming a life-changer for me. Time and again I have confined myself under the law. But I am not under the law! I am in Christ, clothed with Christ, baptised with Christ, buried with Christ. There is no teacher nor student in Christ, no male nor female, no addicts or failures, but all are one in Him. Christ lifts us up to such a height. And Christ also levels us all out, because He became so humble.
What begins in Galatians as being a departure from the gospel of grace, leads us back to the highway of the fruit of the spirit: against such things there is no law. Love. Joy. Peace. The unearthly, lofty, inexplicable waves of grace alone that vibrate through us and signify to us the guarantee of the HOly Spirit’s presence. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. The outworking of His moment by moment presence in our lives that spills out in our words, in our looks, in our actions to those around us. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. The Father-like qualities that equip us to be what He wants to be to His children around us. There are not many fathers, but we are called to be fathers, forgiving, waiting for the Prodigals, biting back the resentment and the hurt, the indignity and the abuse, and gently whispering their names, accepting and loving them.
Stand fast in the freedom by which He has made you free. Don’t be entangled again with a yoke of imprisonment, of shackles, of chains. Stand fast.