We all think Abraham is a great hero of faith. But even he did some stupid things. He bought the thought that he needs to help God to give him and Sarah a child! How often we do something for God because we think that’s a great idea instead of waiting for God? We would like to prove ourselves for God but that’s not the way it goes. Human connivance never achieve things God’s way.
Tell me now, you who have become so enamored with the law: Have you paid close attention to that law? Abraham, remember, had two sons: one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. The son of the slave woman was born by human connivance; the son of the free woman was born by God’s promise. This illustrates the very thing we are dealing with now. The two births represent two ways of being in relationship with God. (Galatians 4: 21-23, MSG)
There really are two ways to be in relationship with God. The old way and the new way. The law and God’s grace. Even if we are Christians we have a tendency to slip back to the old way. Just like Abraham and so many after him. We come up with great religious plans and spiritual projects but if they are not initiated by God we are taking unnecessary detours. What matters is that we live our lives by faith expressed in love.
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. (Galatians 5: 4-6, MSG)
Doing things for God (in your own power) is the opposite of grace.
Doing things for God (in your own power) is staying out of God’s plans.
Doing things for God (in your own power) is trying to perform miracles on our own strength.
Doing things for God (in your own power) is human connivance.
Doing things for God (in your own power) is turning our backs for God’s grace.
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. (Galatians 3: 11-12, MSG)
We are called to live in the Spirit, not to work to please God.
We are called to be led by the Spirit, not by human connivance.
We are called to embrace what God arrange for us to do,
not to keep ourselves busy with other things.
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? (Galatians 5: 16-18, MSG)
These two ways of being in relationship with God are antithetical. We need to choose and we need to stick with out choice. My choice is grace but I admit sometimes it is hard to wait and not go back to human connivance. But I am learning that my best planning does not produce the desired outcomes. Only living in the Spirit will enter me into what God is planning for me. God does not share his visions for our lives so that we would force them to happen. But so that we would fully surrender to him and see him in action.
You are God and we are not.
Forgive us trying to perform for you.
We want to choose you and your incredible grace.
Grant us wisdom to stick with your plan.
Grant us peace to wait for your timing.
Grant us love to follow your guidance.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you struggle between these two ways of being in relationship with God?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you choose grace upon grace for your life!
Image courtesy of Amber Spung