Live Freely

There is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about your self-interest? How free is your spirit?

As you spend time resting in the word of God daily, forgetting everything you know except Jesus the Messiah, are you aware of a growing desire for your every word and thought to please the Lord? Are you becoming conscious of the Lord’s response to your every word and thought?

Read the words of Scripture slowly and reflectively. Let them settle deep in your soul and take root as the Spirit of God brings them to life.

A free spirit.

Gal 5:16-18 – My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day.  Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? (MSG)

Two opposing ways to live:

Freely, animated and motivated and led by God’s Spirit
Or
Feeding the compulsions of sinful self-interest according to how we feel.

Why don’t we choose to be led by the Spirit?

Matt 16:23 – But he [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (ESV)

Phil 2:21 – They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

What spirit animates and motivates you? Do you know? Is this a question that you regularly ask the Lord God to reveal?

Knowing how you function.

Prov 19:2 – To act without knowing how you function is not good; and if you rush ahead, you will miss your goal. (CJB)

Do you know how you function?

Misdirected zeal.

Rom 10:1-4 – Dear brothers, the longing of my heart and my prayer is that the Jewish people might be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for the honor of God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand that Christ has died to make them right with God. Instead they are trying to make themselves good enough to gain God’s favor by keeping the Jewish laws and customs, but that is not God’s way of salvation. They don’t understand that Christ gives to those who trust in him everything they are trying to get by keeping his laws. He ends all of that. (TLB)

What are you trying to get by keeping God’s laws?

God’s way of salvation.
Christ gives everything.
They don’t understand that Christ has died to make them right with God.
They don’t understand that Christ gives to those who trust in him
Everything they are trying to get by keeping his laws. Christ ends all of that futile effort.

For years, I functioned just like the Jewish people of apostle Paul’s day. I was trying to get, by keeping his laws, what Christ Jesus gives to those who trust his person and power. I missed my goal.

Fortunately, the Lord God stood by waiting to be gracious to me while he allowed me to flop around like a gasping, dying fish until I finally came to my senses and admitted that what I was doing was futile and empty, and I’d had enough. I gave up.

When I thought I was giving up on God, was turning and walking away from God and his rules, that’s when I turned away from my self-effort and back to the Lord God! I finally grasped the meaning of his words, “You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” I realized I’d left God’s presence years earlier when I’d started trying to make myself good enough to gain his favor. To act without knowing how I functioned was certainly not good for me! I was feeding the compulsions of selfishness, independence, and self-reliance rather than submitting to God’s way of salvation and life.

God’s way of salvation: Christ gives to those who trust in him everything that they are trying to get by keeping his laws.

Trust/have faith in: persuasion, reliance upon Christ for salvation, assurance, to assent to evidence or authority, to rely by inward certainty, yield.1

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind. Ask the Lord God what he wants you to receive from them and how he wants you to respond to them.

God’s way of salvation.

Give yourselves completely to God.

Rom 4:5 – But people cannot do any work that will make them right with God. So they must trust in him, who makes even evil people right in his sight. Then God accepts their faith, and that makes them right with him. (NCV)

James 4:5-7 – Do you think the Scripture means nothing that says, “The Spirit that God made to live in us wants us for himself alone”?  But God gives us even more grace, as the Scripture says, “God is against the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. (NCV)

God is looking for a person simple and plain.

Isa 66:2 – I made all this! I own all this!” God’s Decree. “But there is something I’m looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say. (MSG)

Trust in him, who makes even evil people right in his sight.
The Spirit that God made to live in us wants us for himself alone.
So give yourself completely to God.
God is looking for a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what he says.
Are you the person God is looking for?

But you were unwilling.

Isa 30:15 – For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, (ESV)

Two opposing ways to live:

Freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit
Or
Feeding the compulsions of sinful self-interest according to how we feel, the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence.

What spirit animates and motivates you? Do you know? Is this a question that you regularly ask the Lord God to reveal?

Made subject to frustration.

Rom 8:18-25 – I don’t think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed; for the creation was made subject to frustration — not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God’s children will have. We know that until now, the whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth; and not only it, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons — that is, to have our whole bodies redeemed and set free. It was in this hope that we were saved. But if we see what we hope for, it isn’t hope — after all, who hopes for what he already sees? But if we continue hoping for something we don’t see, then we still wait eagerly for it, with perseverance. (CJB)

Revealed.
Daughters and sons of God revealed as they trust in him,
Sons and daughters of God revealed as they give themselves completely to him,
Daughters and sons of God revealed as they become reverently responsive to what he says.

The creation waits eagerly.
Do I? Do you wait eagerly?
The creation was made subject to frustration
Not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it.
But it was given a reliable hope.

The creation waits eagerly.
The whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth.
The creation waits eagerly.
Do you? Do I?

We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly
As we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons and daughters
To have our whole bodies redeemed and set free.
We still wait eagerly for it
We eagerly wait with perseverance.

The sufferings we are going through now
Are not even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future.
Groaning as with the pains of childbirth.
To have our whole bodies redeemed and set free!
Animated and motivated and led by God’s Spirit.

Read the texts again. Chew upon these words. Turn them over and over in your mind and allow their significance to be absorbed by mind, body, soul and spirit.

A reliable hope.

The creation was made subject to frustration — not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God’s children will have.

Hope: to anticipate with pleasure, expectation, confidence, faith.2

Hope.
No matter, come what may,
Continue waiting eagerly
With perseverance.
We have been given a reliable hope!

At the center.

Rev 22:3-5 – Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service — worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age. (MSG)

The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center.
His servants will offer God service —
Allegiance
Anything given or done to show reverence, honor or respect.
Worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God.

Happy!

Ps 146:5-10 – Blessed [happy] is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! (ESV)

Happy is s/he whose help is the God of Jacob
Happy is s/he whose hope is in the Lord God
We have been given a reliable hope!

The Lord God
Who keeps faith forever
Who executes justice for the oppressed
Who gives food to the hungry
Who sets the prisoners free
Who opens the eyes of the blind
Who lifts up those who are bowed down
Who loves the righteous
Who watches over the sojourners
Who upholds the widow and the fatherless
Who brings to ruin the way of the wicked
The Lord God will reign forever
Praise the Lord!

Hope.
No matter, come what may,
Continue waiting eagerly
With perseverance.
We have been given a reliable hope!

Hope: expectation; to scrutinize; watching with hope and patience, tarry, view, wait.3

The Spirit that God made to live in us wants us for himself alone.
So give yourself completely to God.

God is looking for a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what he says.
Freely, animated and motivated and led by God’s Spirit.

Read the texts again, setting aside your own thoughts, perceptions, judgments, your own agenda, to allow response from your inner depths to surface. What do you discover?

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Become aware of your breath. The breath of the Almighty in you.

Breath by breath. Become conscious of the presence of the Almighty in you. Seek his strength. Seek his presence. Surrender to the influence of the breath of the Almighty, reverently responsive to his words.

2 Cor 13:14 – the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen. (YLT)

Inhale.
Exhale.

You must rely on the breath of the Almighty, the Spirit of God who lives inside you, to make you understand Gods words, to discern the thoughts and intentions of your heart, to seek the interests of Jesus Christ and not your own.

With your inhalation draw the words of the Lord God deep within you.

With your exhalation empty yourself of all your own ideas, plans, thoughts, imaginations and words to make room for the words of God to take possession. Open yourself completely to what the Lord God wants to reveal to you about yourself and about him. Become reverently responsive to what he says.

Gal 5:25 – Since it is through the Spirit that we have Life, let it also be through the Spirit that we order our lives day by day. (CJB)

Inhale: (draw the words of the Lord God deep within you)

It is through the Spirit that I have life

Exhale. (empty yourself of self to allow the words of God to take possession)

Let it be through the Spirit that I order my life this day

Wait, watch, listen, be still, be willing for the Lord God to transform you from within, revealing who you really are. Strive and reach for the goal, alive to the energy that he powerfully works in you as you rest, completely dependent upon him to reach the goal, united with the Messiah.

As you receive the Word of God into that deepest place of your being, the Lord God is rescuing you, he is loosening your bonds to your old nature, he is delivering you from your illusions and foolish boasting. Through Jesus, our Messiah, God is gradually transforming you from within, revealing who you really are, becoming one spirit with him.

Inhale.
Exhale.

Breathe the Lord God’s words all day every day.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Trust/have faith in: NT:4102 <START GREEK>pi/sti$<END GREEK> pistis (pis’-tis); from NT:3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: KJV – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

NT:3982 <START GREEK>pei/qw<END GREEK> peitho (pi’-tho); a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): KJV – agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) confident, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

2Hope: NT:1680 <START GREEK>e)lpi/$ <END GREEK> elpis (el-pece’); from a primary elpo (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence: KJV – faith, hope. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3Hope: OT:7664 <START HEBREW>rb#c@<END HEBREW> seber (say’-ber); from OT:7663; expectation: KJV – hope.

OT:7663 <START HEBREW>rb^c*<END HEBREW> sabar (saw-bar’); erroneously shabar (Neh 2:13,15) (shaw-bar’); a primitive root; to scrutinize; by implication (of watching) to expect (with hope and patience): KJV – hope, tarry, view, wait. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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