Get ready for freedom my friend 🙂
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?”
This is one of the most common misconceptions in Christiandom. The journey beings as the sinner becomes aware of how insufficient their flesh is and how overwhelmingly wicked they are in comparison to God’s righteousness. This leads them to accept Christ! This miraculous work of the Spirit brings them to life! They understand they have no power in themselves (in relation to justification), as there is nothing they could do to bring themselves to God. They know, it was Him who freed them. It was Him who reached into darkness and broke the chains of a slave.
Months, weeks, days, or even hours later in some cases the new believer begins to experience the pain of sin. Temptations come and overwhelm them. They know these things shouldn’t be a part of their life now since they are alive in Christ, bought with a price to represent Him! So what do they do? They recognize their failure, their temptation and decide “I have to try harder.” They begin to work towards making the right decisions, pruning their life of their temptations. They begin to dwell more on what they should do to turn away sin when the temptations come. Satan brings those old temptations around and they knock it out of the park. They have set up better habits and have finally broken through walls they had never thought possible. They do incredible for weeks, days, hours, but then they fail again. They are in a spiral of defeat, convicted over their “short coming.” So they try harder, setup more boundaries, setup even more good habits! Yet the cycle repeats.
The process they are going through seems so logical! That’s because we are evaluating it from a fleshly perspective. Paul reminds us: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” We constantly fail because we think that, for some reason, though it was impossible for us to bring us to justification somehow now we are capable to bring sanctification. We forget the job description of the Holy Spirit! We try, fail, feel guilt, repeat.
Stop. Stop this cycle now. You will never be successful in perfecting yourself. If you could then Christ would not have died, nor said that He thought it was BETTER to leave so that He could send us the helper. Stop the cycle now. The correct process is this: Recognize sin, pray for the Spirit to move, TRUST GOD! Repeat.
Of course there is failure, it’s a process. Nothing great that has been done in the world was done first try. Otherwise it would not have been a discovery! If something is so easy that it is done without any trial and error then there’s little reason as to why it hasn’t been around for centuries. In the same way if you could trust God completely and adhere to what He is saying then there would be no perfection, you would read it and do it. That’s clearly not the process (as evidenced by all of our failures to obey). So why are you still thinking it’s possible?
You’ve perhaps hear Einstein’s quote “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Trust God for the changes and just chock up your failures to being young in Christ. You are still immature, the only way to progress in sanctification is praying for Him to change you and you just enjoying the journey, the mistakes, the challenges, its all the process.
There’s A LOT more to this. In fact it is essentially a sermon series! 😂 Let me know in the comments if this is something you think we should do a series of sermons on. All of this can be summarized in this: You cannot lead yourself to sanctification, the Spirit does. You cannot produce in yourself sanctification, the Spirit does. You cannot guide yourself to be MORE obedient, the Spirit does. You have to be obedient, but the Spirit is the one organizing all of your growth, stop trying to take the wheel.
God, I tend to think I can control how much I sin or fail. I tend to thin it is within my own power to produce sanctification. It is hard for me to get past what American Preachers propagate and trust what the Bible says. Even now I struggle with believing this over what my presuppositions say. Help me, as these verses say, help me change! It is through Your power that I was brought to life and it is now Your power that will perfect me in it.
This is a radical discovery if you have been caught in that cycle of sin. You will see things that are miraculous happening in your life. So think about it, many people are experiencing this quietly. Some are even using this to discourage them from following Christ because they see how frequently they fail. Dig deep, learn more about this (even if that means just messaging me for more info), and teach people. This can free them too.