G5 Day 3

G5 Day 3

“For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:5–6)

I don’t have the time to do it right

I am not a perfectionist, I don’t have the time, and that kills me. See, I want perfection because perfection is the best, and I want the best, but doing things perfect takes more time than I have. So in the battle between getting things done perfectly and getting them done on time, I’m okay with just getting er done. That means that I have practiced all the shortcuts. I’ve searched for all the shortest ways to the store. I know all the short cuts to doing the dishes. And I love the short cut that is texting. I don’t have the time to really talk to everyone I need to talk to, but texting allows me to get to the point and move on. Heck, I can even text while I’m doing something else. Multi-tasking is definitely my secret weapon against time. Doubling up and doing more than one thing tells time, “You ain’t got nothing on me! You can only do one minute per minute, but I can do three things per minute! I win!” To which time replies, “Yes, you are certainly good at messing up multiple things at a time. You win?”

Ok, so I might not always win, but letting time pass without doing something is the worst. They call it “waiting” and they say it’s good for you, but I say it’s the worst. Waiting makes me feel so powerless. It makes me feel like I’ve got a bucket filled with time, and it has a big hole in it, but I’m not allowed to stop it up, and so time is just running out all over the place. Pretty soon my bucket will be empty and then what? I’ll be out of time! And being out of time is like game over loser, step aside so someone else can play.

I don’t think many of us have this waiting thing down. That’s why we are so good at jumping in and getting things done. Work is the best friend of the impatient. The quicker you work the quicker you can get through the waiting. But when this nature bleeds over into the life of faith things don’t go so well. We call it the works of the flesh and it’s our answer to times attempt to beat us. 

Galatians 5:5 says, “For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” We wait through the Spirit, by faith. That’s how we wait. That means that in those times when we just can’t wait, when we are busy, hurried, harried even, we are not living by the Spirit but by the flesh. Short cuts, avoiding the hard work of slowing down and living in the moment, loving those who get in the way of our plans, our expectations, our dreams, are just our attempts to work things out in our flesh and these attempts are pulling us away from the Spirit. But resting, trusting that every interruption has it’s purpose, that every moment is a gift and that working hard to just get er done without regard for waiting on the Lord keeps our minds focused on the Spirit. This week our study will be looking at this idea of doing it in our flesh over waiting on the Spirit.  

For through the Spirit, by faith

Galatians 5:5 offers us an alternative to our battle with time when it says, “For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” 

How do these words say we are to deal with time? How are we to wait? 

What does it mean to wait through the Spirit by faith? 

Let’s take a look at Romans 4:4-5

“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,” (Romans 4:4–5)

What does the word ‘wages’ make you think about the relationship between the one who works and the one who pays the wages? 

What does a employer owe the one who works for him? 

What does it mean to live by works according to this passage? 

The idea that God is our employer and we work for our wages means that God needs our labor, but the reality is that we are the ones who needs Him. Faith isn’t about helping God out, or supplying his deficiencies, it’s about Him working to fill our deficiencies. We need Him, He does not need us and our works. 

So what does it mean in Romans 4:5 when it talks about the one who does not work? 

When we set our hearts on works, on doing it ourselves, on proving ourselves, on beating time, or proving our faithfulness, we set our hearts on our own desires, on our flesh. As human beings we crave success, we want to prove ourselves, if only to ourselves. We often forget who God is and start to think that He is one who needs our help, but God doesn’t need us to fill his deficiencies, but we need him to fill ours. He is the one who works in us. Take a look at Philippians 2:13,“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” When a believer works by faith it is God who is working in her not she who is working for Him. When we start to think our works proves something, we focus on the flesh, and in this state we miss out on the work of the Spirit. John Piper explains it like this, The heart that is set on works (flesh) desires the thrill of feeling its will and its body rise victoriously to some challenge. The heart that is set on works will attempt to scale a vertical rock face, or take on extra responsibilities at work, or risk life in the combat zone, or agonize through a marathon, or perform religious fasting for weeks—all for that wonderful thrill of conquering a challenge by the force of its will and stamina of its body. The heart that is set on works longs for the thrill of feeling itself overcome great obstacles.” 

Faith vs. works: Works is our attempt to feel the rush of a job well done. To prove ourselves, and to receive all the glory, but faith wants the joy of seeing God at work and of Him getting the glory. 

We ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

Most of us have tried to be patient, we’ve attempted to wait, but have more often than not ended up taking over, doing it our way, getting it done, but God is saying that it is through the Spirit by faith that we are able to wait. If we aren’t waiting through the power of the Spirit, we are likely to lose our strength, our stamina and our patience. 

What is this verse saying we wait for? 

What is our hope of righteousness? 

In Romans 8:23 Paul talks about this waiting like this, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:23, ESV)

What does he say we are waiting for here? 

As believers we all have something to look forward to in death. When we die we find the hope of the righteousness we have been waiting for, no more tears, no more sin, perfection, and in that perfection we will be finally living with the Father in heaven, adopted, made a part of the family. So Paul has been reminding us that we have the promise of these things, and we must wait patiently for their fulfillment through the power of the Spirit. We are not meant to achieve perfection through our works, circumcision in this case, but to wait patiently for the Father to give it to us in glory. 

Only faith working through love

So he goes on to tell us that obeying the law doesn’t count for anything, but only faith working through love. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) 

According theses words, how many things count for anything? 

The only thing that counts for anything is faith, and when we have faith we forcibly love others. Jesus told us this when he said the single most important commandment is to love. Love is the only way of faith. Love is a big word, but to make it more understandable I like to say that love is simply selfless living. When we are selfish we are not loving. It is only when we are selfless that we love. That means that in any area where self is the focus love is left out. So if the only thing that counts if faith working through love it’s important that we take these words to heart. 

Consider your life, relationships, actions, is there any selfishness in you? Let me answer that for you, yes. I can say that with confidence because God tells us that there is no one who is righteous, not one. Remember, we are waiting for our righteous perfection  to come. That means that we all struggle with selfishness, but being content with selfishness is the problem. Contentment with selfishness means that we are simply unwilling to identify the selfish acts in our life and to reject them. This is a daily process. It never stops for any of us. But when we refuse to assess our lives for acts of selfishness we are no longer living by faith working through love. Since we all could use some help with having eyes to see the opposite of love in our lives, here are some places to look. If you find any of these habits in  your life then that is the area where love is lacking. 

Complaining    Discontentment   Lack of self-control   Impatience  Harshness   Boasting

Extreme physical challenges         Fighting      Pride      Shouting      Angry outburst 

Immorality      Coveting     Jealousy   Drunkenness   Attention getting    Immodesty 

Obsession        Irritability   Resentment    Bitterness   Rudeness    Control  Judgmentalism 

As I look at this list it feels like I’ve failed tremendously, because I struggle with a lot of these, but thanks be to God, not that I can keep acting like this, but that He’s brought these things to my attention and given me the eyes to see where I’ve failed to love. Knowing is the first step to recovery. Now that we know the areas where we are failing to love we can turn to the Spirit and ask for His help in learning to love. 

In what areas of your life are you willing to practice faith working through love? 

What are some ways that you can choose love? 

This week pray and ask God to show you where you are unloving. Thank Him for His Spirit who guides you and convicts you of sin, and love them!