Who’s driving your life?
Paul is struggling with the Galatian people. Initially, it went really well, but he’s feeling discouraged. They accepted Jesus as Saviour and they received the Holy Spirit. But then they listened to people who don’t believe in Jesus and chose to become enslaved to the law again. 1You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.
Paul is asking a really topical question, because we often see people being converted powerfully and being on fire for the Lord. They live with a new freedom and sincere gratitude and the fruit of the Holy Spirit is clearly visible in them. But soon they start wondering whether faith was enough for their conversion? They start wondering whether they had missed something – nothing in the world is ever free!
And this is what is bothering Paul. It seems as if the people who had initially understood Paul’s pure proclamation of the gospel had now become uncertain. Other people proclaiming false doctrine now wanted to load all that baggage onto them again. Had the Holy Spirit left them?
No, the Holy Spirit will never leave. Rather, the people seemed to make the mistake of listening to the false doctrine that says faith in Jesus is not enough to be saved. And therefore they put their being saved through faith only aside and started holding onto being saved through their works again. Paul confronted them: 2Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you?
The Galatian people fell into the groove again of having to work to be saved, to earn your place in heaven. If you do not live 100% right, if you do not do good deeds, you cannot be saved. And in a way they lost their faith. The guilt about their wrong deeds, the baggage that they started dragging with them again, all that broke their faith. And Paul told them exactly where they had gone wrong: 3Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God.
Paul talked straight to the Galatian people and to us as well. When you lose your faith, the Holy Spirit is pushed aside and you start doing everything in your own power, the results are weak and we sow chaos. On our own we cannot give others a second chance. We react with our own needs in mind. The own self grows in size and we step on others. We hurt one another. No, I didn’t mean it in that way, but if I live by my own power, that is the result. And that is what happened to the Galatians. And that is why Paul asked them whether they were crazy.
Let’s turn it around and work from the other side. What do your deeds look like? Is it chaos? Does it hurt? Is there fighting? Do things not go smoothly? Doesn’t anything work out? Are you looking for joy and peace? Or are people being healed? Do people come to you for joy and peace? Can others calm down when they’re with you? Can people open their hearts when they’re with you?
The answers to these questions will show you who is driving your life – you can be the driver of your life or the Holy Spirit can drive your life.
We all want the Holy Spirit to take the wheel of our lives. However, we must not be robbed of our faith. Jesus’ death on the cross is sufficient for us to be saved. It is grace alone. We must believe that and then we must make enough space for the Holy Spirit in our lives so that He can drive, because when He takes over as driver and manager of our lives, the chaos will become less and others will be changed, because the Spirit will work through us in them.
Do you believe that your faith in Jesus’ death on the cross is enough for you to be saved?
Who is driving your life?
What story do your deeds tell?
Jesus, I believe in You. I want your Holy Spirit to take the wheel of my life and save me from myself. Thank you for your grace and your never ending love. Amen