Five years ago today, we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our daughter. We knew that she was on her c way, we knew that the time was drawing close. We had even caught shadowed glimpses of what she would look like in the scans and x-rays provided by the doctors. But we hadn’t yet held her with our own hands or seen her with our own eyes.
But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
Galatians 5:5-6 NLT
And 5 years ago today, little Mia was born. And we became parents. We didn’t receive this new title and position of parent as an obligation, but we received it with grattitude, because our blessing was clear and evident. And we only had an idea of the challenges and wonders and blessings and trials that would come as part of being parents, as we eagerly awaited the exciting new journey ahead of us.
As a parent, life is changed and rearranged. All kinds of things take on new meaning and perspective. And the same is true of us who live by the Spirit. And living by the Spirit is different than trying to fulfill the law under our own power.
You see, someone can decide to try and follow the law by human effort, just as Abraham tried to fulfill Gods promise by sleeping with Hagar to bring forth a child, but this was not God’s promise, this was not God’s will. This was not the work of the power of God, but it was the striving of man. But when the time was right, God fulfilled His promise and through His power fulfilled it exactly as promised, something that Abraham’s attempts on his own fell short of.
How often do we get caught up in trying to make it happen ourselves? How often do we want to rush things along so that we can feel responsible, so that we can take credit, so that we can feel like we made a difference, instead of trusting Him and giving Him all of the credit?
I wonder how much of our lives are, spent in our own pride and vanity, striving against the wind, versus how much of our life is faith expressing itself in love? I wonder how few might understand the difference? How few might find that narrow gate of faith in Jesus Christ that is the one true way? How many will be tricked and trapped and snared by the enemy instead?
We stand upon that great scale – but not just a scale of justice weighing our works – for our works will be tried by fire and only the things done with a pure heart will not be burned away – only those things done as faith expressing itself in love will survive the purifying fires. Those things done out of religious obligation, or out of manipulation in an attempt to gain favor or honor for oneself – they will be burned away. Because it is our heart that is weighed, so that no man might boast in His own works.
You see, the things weighed will be those things that Christ did through us when we were simply willing and equipped to be used by the Holy Spirit to do God’s will. It won’t be our own works of filthy rags, but it will be His annointing that has been poured out through us into the lives of others.
And that is why we are eagerly awaiting to receive by faith the righteousness promised to us. Because if we think that we are already righteous, have we closed our eyes on the work He is still doing and still has yet to complete in our reconciliation to be more like our teacher and instead thought much of ourselves even before our time has come? Have we fallen like the one third who saw their own beauty and forgot how they reflected the image of Christ and foolishly became prideful of themselves? Or have we kept our eyes set firmly upon Christ, knowing that we are in comparison lowly sinners, so little different from the lost of this world other than our knowledge and faith in our Lord and Savior who is reconciling us to be more like Himself.
Yes, there is a perspective that is right before the Lord, and it is not one of pride, but one of humility, of mercy, of servitude towards God and towards our fellow man. And this attitude is the result of grattitude, of faith, of trust in the undeserved gift of grace that He offers us. And we receive it not our of our empty religious practice or striving on our own, but we receive it through our faith producing love. That is the only worthy and blameless offering that we can lay upon the altar that will not be consumed by the refining fire, and it only comes through a relationship with Him, through the Holy Spirit alive and moving and active in our lives.
So we wait eagerly, those who rest our confidence in the Lord, and who have abandoned any foolish confidence in ourselves.