NEW SERIES: LIVING IN THE OVERFLOW
Is it the one laid down by our local congregation? The one passed down through our family or our friendship group? The one inside our heads? These may not be formal written codes, but they dominate none the less.
These are the shoulds and ought-tos of our Christian lives, the externally imposed rules for spiritual living, the criteria for being ‘good’ Christians. These are the things we beat ourselves (and others) up with; and cover a range of behaviours from spiritual disciplines to use of alcohol; church programme involvement to parenting; weight loss to leisure pursuits.
These are the things we tell ourselves we should be doing, and despair because we just don’t seem to have enough discipline. And these are often the things we judge our fellow believers by.
But most common is a pervading sense of failure, of having missed the mark; the sense that we were designed to be somehow better, and that there should be more to life than we are experiencing. And so we ask for forgiveness and determine to do improve… tomorrow. For many the Christian walk is like one long January: making resolutions, keeping it up for a few days or even weeks, then blowing it and feeling miserable.
However, God has an answer for this cycle of failure: the truth is, we were designed for something better. We were designed to participate in His glory. But we weren’t designed to get there by our own efforts. As new creations, as brand new people, we were made to live inside-out. Not according to external dos and don’ts, but with life flowing from the inside. Amazingly, God Himself has chosen to take up residence inside us—we need to give Him the freedom to be Himself!
Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
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