During our families recent vacation, we googled directions from Washington DC to Virginia Beach. After spending a few days in museums in the nation’s capital, we were going to spend a couple days relaxing at the beach.
Not surprisingly with the way the roads in DC shift and change names, we found ourselves going the wrong way. We had missed the turn. I did my best DC driver impersonation and swung a vicious U-turn, squealing some tires along the way, to head back in the right direction.
Tonight at church, a friend spoke about the Holy Spirit, but specifically focused his lesson on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He concluded by dealing with the differences between worldly believers and mature believers. The mature believer allows the Holy Spirit to control his life, while the worldly believer still wants to control his own life.
The question he posed is how a worldly believer can move back to being a Spirit-filled, mature believer. The first question to be answer, however, is how do most often try to do it?
Usually, we try to do something. Maybe if we do some good works. Pray more? Read our Bible more? Do something nice? While this is what we usually do, it would be like me taking a wrong turn and trying to continue down the same road to get to my destination.
We cease being a Spirit-filled believer by focusing on our self. What are we doing when we are trying to do good works? We are focusing on and relying on self. What should we do, instead? Make a U-turn.
We have to go back the way we came. How were we first saved? By grace through faith. We don’t earn it. We can’t earn it. Works do nothing to aid salvation. If they do nothing to aid salvation, why should we think that works are what will take us back to the point where the Holy Spirit is in control?
Apparently, the Galatians had the same misconception and Paul dealt with it forcefully. He asks them rhetorically, “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?” If you began with the Spirit, by grace through faith, then how will you be made complete? With the Spirit, by grace through faith.
Just as I had to go in a different direction in DC to get back headed toward Virginia Beach, when we find ourselves not living our Christian walk to the fullest we have to go in the opposite direction. We have to stop trying to work our way anywhere, but instead approach God through faith, trusting in the finished work of Christ, and ask Him to work in us and fill us with His Holy Spirit.
A wrong turn doesn’t lead you in the right direction. Works cannot save you and they cannot make you a Spirit-filled Christian.