It was during those heady days known as the Charismatic movement! Infectious laughter, biblical and edifying Scripture songs, heaven sent singing in the Spirit and encouraging life-giving sharing. It was a special time. Grace aware ordinary people who were so captivated by the love of Jesus. We were privileged over this time to experience ‘open heavens’. However, there were those who did not like our freedom in Christ Jesus.
Our focus changed
We noticed a growing trend over those years, similar to the churches in Galatia. People wanted to control the moving of the Spirit. They didn’t use those words. But they spoke about ‘order’ and ‘programmes,’ ‘accountability’ ‘submission’ and ‘leadership’ – In themselves these words sounded sensible and wise. But they formed part of a desire within men and women to ‘control’ the work of the Holy Spirit.
Some of you may remember the ‘add-ons’ that were introduced to Church life. Slowly, almost imperceptibly the sensitive yet powerful Jesus centred singing was being replaced by soulish, louder music, which focussed more on people’s needs rather than on Jesus. The songs we sang were more about us than Him. The singing was led from the front by trained ‘worship teams’ rather than open and Spirit directed worship. The focus changed. Meetings became the measure of our commitment to a particular church. We became a very busy people, and of course we called this hyper-activity – ‘God’s work.’ We introduced our order! As a result, the sparkle of anointed worship and the freshness of fellowship with Jesus over time had drifted in to what can only be called dull routine. The little yeast had worked it’s way through the whole batch of dough!
These are the very issues that Paul addresses in a different time and another culture. The results were the same.
We can learn from this Story!
Today, as we see increasing numbers of people leave the institutional church there is a prevalent lifestyle being promoted amongst us. It is the belief that we can ‘do what we want’ now we have more time on our hands. Paul addresses this issue very clearly.
“The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.” – Galatians, TMSG
“How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” New Living Translation
By the Spirit
Galatians. It is worth reading through these 6 chapters in one sitting. Why you might ask? Simply put…. Paul’s letter to the Christians in the Church was about their moving from freedom to legalism! The story of a people who had been diverted from a pure, single minded devotion to Jesus to ‘another’ message. The Gospel of the Kingdom is always a message of freedom – offering us complete deliverance from sin and its impact upon our lives. It is the ‘life-key’ which releases us totally from the binding influence of legalism and the law.
The Message Is Clear
Paul speaks strongly to these early Christians intent on wanting to ‘control’ others. “You idiots of Galatia.” – JB Philips. We are also reminded in this letter of the incredible work completed on our behalf, and the reason for His work.
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.” – TMSG
Our salvation is a revelation of Jesus Christ within our hearts. This action brings about a repentance from sin, faith towards God and sets us up to live a life controlled by the Spirit. If you choose to walk this way, by the Spirit, He will ensure that you will experience an ever widening grasp of His intended freedom. Let us therefore walk by the Spirit.
Recommended reading by clicking on the link below.