The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so contrary to human thinking that even after a person believes in Him and experiences salvation by faith, much of life is spent fighting that inclination to try and do it ourselves!
This is better understood alongside of the biblical definition of sin. It is found in several places. I’m thinking of two; one from the Old Testament and one from the New:
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
Sin is doing things my way rather than trusting God’s way. It is ignoring God, leaving Him out. We use the word “secular” without thinking of the implications. It means “no religious or spiritual basis” and “without God”. Even Christians sometimes describe their job as secular work or their hobbies as secular. To leave God out and do anything my way is “not of faith” and therefore sin. This is a can be a rude awakening for anyone who tends toward independent self-sufficiency.
The Christians at Galatia are a biblical example. They started well. They believed that Jesus died for their sin, was buried and rose from the dead; that He forgave their sin and gave them new life. They received the Holy Spirit and began living by faith. However, false teaching appealed to sinful pride and they began trying to live the Christian life without relying on Jesus Christ for every bit of it!
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Galatians 3:1–9)
I’ve not done an historical study of this church or what happened after Paul presented the truth to them this way. However, I know how it affects me. I remember battling my old habit of yelling at my children when they misbehaved. It didn’t work and I tried to stop. My efforts were useless, but God taught me to trust Him with that issue and one day I noticed that I was not doing that any longer.
I remember having our phone for our home, my husband’s business, and the forward for our church while we were without a pastor. I never knew who would be calling for what, and God taught me to pray for wisdom as I picked it up. Some lessons are learned through repetition, others through great trials.
Other things come to mind, too many to list here yet all of them so unnecessary if I had not had such an independent “I can do it myself” attitude. Others might more easily say “I cannot” and trust God for their needs, but not me. My learning curve is often very steep.
Lord Jesus, You have been so patient with me and taught me so many valuable lessons about trust. You forgive my sin and let me see the blessings of putting my faith in You, salvation being the first and most important, but also trusting You when I sit, stand, walk and live this life. Today, may I trust You for all things, particularly as we interact with those who grieve as we attend a funeral for my cousin’s husband.
Today’s thankful list . . .
God’s amazing patience, but also His persistence!
A safe journey to the funeral.
Safety on the road in the six-hour drive home, two of it through incredible scenery and four of it through intense thunderstorms.
Hazard lights when visibility is almost nil.
Hearing God speak in unexpected places.
Hugs and smiles.
Fast food when needed.
Caramel pecan ice cream
A warm home, a full frig and a comfortable bed.