Are you a person who needs checklists to maintain order? Do you need to be told exactly, step-by-step, what to do? Or are you a person who works best with general guidance? Do you work better when you can be creative to accomplish a task?
In general, there are two types of people when it comes to needing direction. One type needs explicit instructions. The other needs a goal and nothing more. However, it is rare that any of us are only one way or the other. We typically fall somewhere in between, leaning more to one side or the other.
I remember being a Marine and having to learn to think and learn to follow Commander’s Intent. A unit commander would give a subordinate commander a task, but not the specifics to accomplish it. For instance, he may say to defend a hill. The subordinate commander had to determine how to deploy his small unit, whether fighting holes needed to be dug or not, and where to post listening or lookout sentries.
In many ways, this is just what God has done through Jesus Christ. He has given us the command to love our neighbor, but He didn’t give us specific instructions as to how. This is what Paul is talking about in today’s passage when He compares the letter versus the Spirit.
Think about it. If we were given explicit instructions and failed to follow them exactly, we die. That’s what the old Law did for the Jews. However, by giving us the freedom to tackle the general commands Jesus gave, we are provided the opportunity to be creative to accomplish them. We can allow the Spirit to direct us according to our situation. This gives us life and reduces the possibility of failure.
I pray we all choose to follow the Spirit. I pray we learn to obey the commands of Jesus creatively. I pray each one of us ask God to lead us by His Spirit and open our minds. Be creative. Learn to think. Ask God to open your mind. Follow the Spirit. Seek freedom. Seek life.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.