“What have you done for me lately?” Our world seems to champion this refrain continually. In a constant drive for results and instant gratification, failure to provide rapid exponential impact is a virtual death sentence. Football coaches who have consecutive losing seasons are on the hot seat, politicians who fail to get results are voted out, school districts clamor for quick gains on state assessments and bookstores are filled with “get rich quick” books. Our social media feeds fill up with “easy” work out routines that promise toned abs with minimal effort and nutritional dietary fads that come and go with alarming regularity.
Where are the books that promote the tried and true methods we all heard about in childhood nursery rhymes and fables? The tortoise beat the hare because he was persistent and determined to do the right thing. Slow and steady is supposed to win the race. We know that consistency over time is what works, and yet, we are quickly distracted by the new trends and outlandish promises of faster, bigger and better.
Unfortunately, we often approach our faith with this same attitude. When the excitement of spiritual experience wears off, and the seeming malaise of a slow and steady spiritual journey sets in, we have a tendency to veer away from the path toward freedom. We often think there are short cuts in our spiritual lives. Like we so often do, the Galatians began to focus on their works and achievements rather than patiently pursuing an abiding relationship with God and allowing His Spirit to do the work.
In today’s reading, Paul shocks his readers when he explains that no works or efforts can replace a complete reliance and dependence on Jesus. He is the only source of true freedom. All else is but a shallow and hollow substitute that will, at best, have a fleeting impact.
How do you try to earn God’s approval? What do you need to stop doing to allow room for the Spirit to change you?
Ask God to show you what you need to stop doing, or start doing, so that you can live free!