I don’t have much time, so I just want to say one thing in response to the legalistic second message I heard at Promise Keepers last night.
The Fruits of the Spirit and God’s law are diagnostic tools. They are means to an end. Neither one is an end unto itself. Neither is achievable all by yourself. A guilt trip accomplishes nothing; trying to do them on your own accomplishes nothing but showing you how futile the task is.
I was sitting next to Pastor as we got this message, and he fumed through the whole thing. And at one point, one of us said, “We love this stuff, because it tells us exactly what we should do.” And the other of us said, “This is the first sin all over again. This is trying to be God.”
So listen. If you don’t like the direction your life is headed, if you look at your life and you don’t see what Scripture says your life is supposed to be, don’t make yourself a to-do list. Make this your to-do list: Tell God what you see. Tell Him you don’t like it. Trust me, He doesn’t either. Ask God to forgive you, ask Him to invade your life–yes, again–and humble yourself and ask Him to show you the way you should go. Let Him set your path straight.
The good deeds we do on our own are nothing but filthy rags. The only things we can do that are worthwhile are what God Himself enables us to do. Face it: You and I both need a designated hitter. But God’s willing to be that. Let Him.
Trust me. The fruits will come. Obedience will come. And they’ll be a whole lot better than anything you can do on your own.
The pressure’s off.
I gotta get going.