To make that transition from “average” to “normal,” we will definitely have to cultivate new patterns in our lives… And it’s not what you think. What kinds of patterns do we need?
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On Sunday, I talked about “trying” to live right, and how frustrating that can be. How did that resonate with you? Can you relate to that at all?
Of course, it is our natural conditioning to try to do what is right.
Galatians 3:10-11 NLT
But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law.
“Been there… Tried that…” What does “trying” produce in our lives?
(For a hint… We’re in the middle of February. How are your New Year’s Resolutions working out for you?)
(Oh.. You didn’t make them this year? Well, you are even more forcefully making the point… We KNOW that “trying” doesn’t work!)
We need something new. God knew this way back in the Old Testament times, long before Christ, didn’t He? What did He promise us in the next verse?
Ezekiel 36:26-27 NLT
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
He is acknowledging that we cannot accomplish His will, His purposes, His desired life for us on our own… He promised that we would be able to live by the Spirit. What does that mean?
The Apostle Paul had some serious questions for the Galatian believers because they were trying to be good on their own… How do his comments apply to you today? (see next verses)
Galatians 3:2-5 NLT
Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced* so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
Living by the Spirit means that I trust the Holy Spirit to do in me what I can’t do myself. It means that rather than respond to a situation by trying to do what I naturally want to do, That I instead trust Him do do in and through me what He desires.
Galatians 3:12-14 NLT
For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.
This points us back to the root of this entire series… The definition of the “Normal” Christian. What is that, again?
Galatians 2:20 NLT
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
The whole distinction between “average,” and “normal” is that the “average is still trying. Still doing. Still working hard. The “normal” is trusting. Resting. Dying to self and allowing Christ to live through them. At the end of this series, is the difference clear? Is it easy?
The bottom line, is that quote by Watchman Nee that we talked about during the first week. It is powerful if we can really grasp and internalize it…
Watchman Née, Normal Christianity
God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need: His Son, Jesus Christ. In all His dealings with us, He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place. The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness; He lives instead of us for our deliverance. So we can speak of two substitutions: a Substitute on the cross who secures our forgiveness and a Substitute within who secures our victory.
Read that again. It is really powerful. It is my favorite line in his entire book.
So, the bottom line is that we don’t need more patience, or more mercy, or more meekness… Those are byproducts… Fruits of the Spirit. We simply and only need more of Him, That is why I start every podcast episode saying “whatever you’re going through in life, the answer is in letting God press the Good News of Jesus deeper into your life.”
Hebrews 13:21 NLT
may he equip you with all you need for doing his will.
May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.