Where does your strength come from? Where do you turn for guidance? Do you turn to written rules and laws to know what is right? Do you look to split hairs to determine what you get away with or follow the spirit of the law? Do you turn to the Spirit of God for guidance?
We all follow some form of rule, law, or principle as guidance for our lives. We begin learning rules as early as a baby in our mother’s arms. As we begin toddling, we are told what we are not to touch. We continue learning rules, laws, and principles as we grow older.
By and large, rules, laws, and principles are good. Sure, we know there are some laws that are discriminatory. Yet, in order to have a functioning society, we need laws. Why? As humans, without laws we would live in utter chaos because we don’t follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Those of us who are followers of Jesus, who have been gifted the Holy Spirit to guide us, should follow the Holy Spirit rather than the law. No, this doesn’t mean purposely disobeying the law. It does mean purposely doing the right thing. What is the right thing? Doing God’s will.
Jesus told us all the law hangs on two commands—love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). Going about our lives solely living by the law makes for a harried life. We push the edge of the envelope to determine how far we can go, while also looking over our shoulder with anxiety to determine if we are going to be caught doing something wrong. This becomes so engrained into our being and we are so filled with worry and anxiety that we don’t even recognize it is there anymore.
We would be much better off to take Paul’s message from today’s passage and apply to our daily living. As he rebukes the Galatians for trying to abide by the law rather than the Spirit, so we should accept this rebuke and change how we go about our lives. As we increase our following of the Spirit, we increase our peace, joy, and contentment.
For far too many of us, this appears to be foolish advice. Yet, we know that “the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25). By following the Spirit to do what is right, we no longer need to worry about the law. We don’t need to remember all the laws, if we remember to love God and love neighbor, and treating everyone based on that.
I pray we all choose to follow the Spirit. I pray we choose to love God and love neighbor. I pray each one of us begins to feel the peace, joy, and contentment from doing so. Follow the Spirit. Love God. Love your neighbor. Find peace. Experience joy. Be content.
Galatians 3:2-3 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?