Thursday, 24 September 2015

Remember. Keep focused. Keep dependent.

"I want to know only one thing. How were you given God’s Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him? 
How can you be so stupid? 
Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God’s Spirit started in you?
Have you gone through all of this for nothing? Is it all really for nothing? 
God gives you his Spirit and works miracles in you. But does he do this because you obey the Law of Moses or because you have heard about Christ and have faith in him?"

How to live in the TRUTH? The truth that nothing I do by my own efforts can save me... the truth that I have to put myself aside and humble myself completely...the truth that I CONSTANTLY have to consider MY 'self' as useless as dead and 'all' I need to do is rely on Jesus?

And how to do I do that? By constantly turning to him and asking for help. Every day. Every hour. Every minute,

Trying for every hour, at least. So here we are:

Verses 5 - 9 (Chapter 3) say, in The Message:
"Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.

Is it not obvious to you that persons who put their trust in Christ (not persons who put their trust in the law!) are like Abraham: children of faith? It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews byfaith. Scripture anticipated this in the promise to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed in you.”

So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith—this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.”"

Paul goes on: "The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: “The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.” Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.”

Such a temptation to think - usually unconsciously - that if I DO the right things I will FEEL right with God. And yet there is a truth in this.  We feel good when we do the right thing, just as we feel bad when we sin - the hidden lie, the small thing stolen, the unkind thought....

So perhaps it is more than feelings. Perhaps it is just about knowing God, being with him, developing relationship, as we would with anyone - finding out more about how he thinks and feels and does, finding out about his family, his background, his interests, rather than doing anything to impress.

After all, just trying to impress someone by what we do and say doesn't build relationship with them, does it? We're just showing off when we do that...

"In fact, the Law was our teacher. It was supposed to teach us until we had faith and were acceptable to God. But once a person has learned to have faith, there is no more need to have the Law as a teacher." (Galatians 3:24 - 25)

Teaching Judaism to the children at the moment, it has become more and more apparent that Judaism is a religion of good rules and regulations, a way of life: Christianity is about following a person whose heritage was that same way of life....

And so: "All of you are God’s children because of your faith in Christ Jesus. And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes.  Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman. So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham’s family, and you will be given what God has promised."

There are many reasons why I cling on to this promise: I can only pray: Lord, increase my faith.

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