Bewitched No More!
The month of October is a time when we begin to see and hear the all too familiar haunts of Halloween.
The lovely canopy of autumn begins to tarnish with shadows of a bewitching influence that permeates, as it twists and twines its way around us.
The meaning of the word, “bewitched” is: To attract; to cause to be enamored, as in the casting of a spell over someone or something.
Back in the days of the early church, they too struggled with a notorious “bewitching” problem, one that the Apostle Paul felt the need to address.
We find his rather strong admonishment in the book of Galatians, when he said:
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (3:1)"
He, of course, was referring to the whole “law versus grace” problem. Paul was trying to stress that just as they (the Galatians) had started their Christian walk in the power of the Spirit, so they should be careful to continue to grow by that same grace and power of the Spirit. A subtle shift had gradually started to make its way into the Church. Apparently some of the believers had begun to fall back into “trying” (within their own strength) to keep the Jewish laws.
It is of utmost importance for all of us to remember that we only grow in proportion to God’s work of grace in us by the power of the Spirit.
The Scripture reminds us that it is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord. It is
never about following a specific set of rules or attempting to stay justified by mere “mortal” efforts. Those sneaky little “good intentions” that come in the form of: “I’ll do better next time” or, “I’ll never do that again” or, “Maybe if I just pray more, commit more” dialog like that always causes us to end up in utter failure and defeat.
Why? Because we simply cannot keep the Law!
I am convinced that the Holy Spirit’s greatest work in all of us is in teaching us that we can safely trust in the completed atoning work of the cross! We are to fully comprehend the marvelous redemption for our sins, when Jesus breathed those fateful words, “It is Finished.”
What was finished? All human effort! When Christ died upon the cross, we died there with Him! That is to say, all of our humanity died there with Him. And when He ascended into heaven, we ascended with Him! We have been raised to newness of life by our union with Him!
1 Corinthians 6:17 says, "He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." Hallelujah! It is no longer we who are walking, but Christ Himself, expressed as you and me.
"I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20, Amp)."
We are simply emptied containers, manifesting the anointed risen Christ for all to see. As we daily walk out this victorious truth, we do it in the face of glaring weaknesses, vulnerabilities and thousands of failures. That’s okay because the more we walk it out by faith, the more we are transformed into His image.
"We know that we have been raised to newness of life by the incorruptible seed of Christ. That we have been set free from all self effort! (No matter what it may look like outwardly!) We have no need to prove anything! Even when we do things we don’t want to do, it is simply another trial of our faith that we can give thanks for and quickly remind ourselves, it is no longer “I” who lives, but Christ living in me (Galatians 2:16-20)."
As we continue to grow in our understanding, daily stirring up the gift of faith, we more and more realize that we can most assuredly of our own selves do nothing (John 5:30). The challenge before us, than beautifully crystallizes into the simple truth that,
"For me to live… is Christ (Philippians 1:21)."
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