(Originally posted 3/4/07)
A life of Licentiousness or a life of Law – which would you choose?
I choose neither! Real Life is found in neither one, but yet we tend to gravitate towards law because we’re not secure in our faith. We gravitate towards rules and regulations – law – because we’re not confident in Christ-in-us.
We know we don’t want to preach licentiousness. We know life in Christ isn’t about “anything goes.” So we try to control others and ourselves through law.
Tony Vincent, in his song “Shake the Money Tree” from his self-titled album (over a decade ago), put it this way:
“Too insecure to live by faith
We’re always looking for some other way.”
The song is actually about trusting in Jesus rather than money. It’s about being content regardless of our financial status. It’s about trusting that God provides.
But that little line speaks much more to me in other ways too. Our Christian walk is “by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). “Walk by the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). Somehow we’ve made “walking by the Spirit” into a Law-walk rather than a faith walk - and I think that's because we're not fully convinced that the good news of the gospel and the power contained in it is really that good and that powerful! We find a sense of security in rules and standards. And we've come to realize that walking by the Spirit is like the wind... you never know where it's coming from and which way it will blow! (John 3:8) But yet the fruit of the Spirit is not the same as the fruit of the Law! Compare Galatians 5:22-23 with Romans 7:5 and Romans 7:9-11.
The fruit of walking by the Spirit (walking by faith, not by sight) is so much different than the fruit of walking by Law. Trusting in the Spirit (as opposed to our own fleshly attempts at righteous living) results in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But trying to live by the Law results in aroused sinful passions, revival of sin, the deceit of sin, and death!
People naturally resist forced behavior change. Even if we want to change, even if we want to do wonderful, loving, kind deeds... if someone tells us “you must do this,” we naturally resist doing even what we want to do! But when we step aside and let the life of the Spirit who is in us take over, and just let Him do what He supernaturally does in us (not forcibly, but gently... and usually not logically!), the fruit will be so much greater than anything we could conjure up on our own.