Monday, October 08, 2007

Don't Cut Out The Middle Man

Crowding the top of my most-favorite verses in the Bible is Galatians 5:16—

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

When once we know that the flesh is not us but something in us, something against us, then what we want is to live free from its’ grip and influence. This verse carries that promise. Do this and you won’t do that.

A key couple of verses showing how to walk by the Spirit are found in Paul’s letter to the Romans:

“Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Rom 6:13,14)

Perhaps the most practical, even useful aspect of God’s grace to us in Christ is that He lives in those who have received Him. He’s not just around us, He’s in us, and would love to be found. For sin to not be my master, for me to not “carry out the desire of the flesh,” I offer myself to the Holy Spirit who now lives in me. Surprisingly(!), I have found Him entirely capable! He does not ever succumb to the desires of the flesh, but always produces what He is like in me. That’s how the fruit of the Spirit is found in and through me to the glory of God.

Do I always offer myself to the Spirit perfectly? No. I am regularly duped into living by doing what’s right, or by avoiding what’s wrong, or by making good decisions and being a responsible individual, none of which is life by the Spirit, all of which cut out the Middle Man—God within me. I have a long history of life by the flesh, so even though I’ve found life by the Spirit the awesome wonder it is, I still fall back upon old patterns. . .but not as much as I used to. The sequence of Romans 6:13,14 is effectively, Don’t offer yourself to sin, don’t offer yourself to life without God. Rather offer yourself to the Holy Spirit who lives in you. And then, offer the parts of your body to Him as His to use.

God in you and in me is the Holy Spirit. He is The Middle man, who makes life happen in you and me.

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