Embrace the Spirit

Journal Entry // August 22, 2022

Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (ESV)

Galatians 3:3

Having come to this promised salvation through faith in Christ alone, why is it so natural and easy to move away from the Spirit and faith and back into a life of pursuing holiness through the law? Life in Christ is lived through faith and the Spirit that dwells inside my heart and depends on humility and weakness. A life lived through the law is more about my own best efforts done in my own strength and wisdom. Even after receiving a new heart and coming to faith through Christ, I find it so tempting to “do something” for Jesus. This isn’t necessarily bad in itself as I mostly just want to please him and give obedience to him as an act of love. Yet oftentimes I will make these efforts of obedience the center of my walk with Christ. I will point back to all I have done for the Kingdom to justify and rationalize some deeply hidden area of pride and give me cause to celebrate my own strength and ingenuity instead of celebrating the power and glory of Christ alone. I still want to control the details and circumstances of my life, so I continue to lean more on my pride and strength as opposed to my humility and weakness. What I need is to continue in the path of faith. Trusting my Savior not only for the forgiveness of my sins, but the moment-by-moment guidance and direction that only he can provide.

I can easily become depressed and despondent about the direction of life that the Father has chosen for me. I am there now at times still. I can look back and remember all the “things” I once had and long for the day when all of that is restored to me. As I do this, I can feel my heart becoming bitter and disengaged. I can feel my joy and pleasure in the Lord diminish. The more I set my eyes on the past and despair about what was lost, I sink further and further into this pit. I strive and I strive to recapture what I previously had. I seek to be perfected in my own strength because I imagine the past as this state of happiness and joy in the Lord. I forget that the reason I am where I am today is because of my deeply ingrained sin of self-righteous pride. I forget that I was foolish. I had begun by the Spirit but had then relied on my flesh. I was trusting in myself and not Christ. I was prideful and boastful about all the many great things I was doing for the Lord. All the while, my heart was far from him. My heart was getting darker and darker every day.

So I am here at this moment to heal. He has saved me from utter destruction and has kept me from wandering off this holy path. Christ has saved me from making a shipwreck of my faith. I am overjoyed and thankful. I am truly amazed at his wondrous love for me.  The enemy tempts me to look back at what was lost. Jesus wants me to look back and see what was gained. The cost of following Christ is all of me. He wants everything about me… heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the vital and key element I must continue to focus on as I walk this path of faith. I cannot get distracted from growing in humility. I must continue to train my heart to think less and less about itself. I must engage my soul with Christ alone. I must reform my mind to think only of Christ. I must use my strength to carry out the love of Christ in my life. I am so weak and frail, but this is the position I need to learn and develop. For it is in my weakness and frailty that the strength and power of the Spirit will be magnified through my life for the glory of Christ alone.

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