“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Gal 5:17-18.
What motivates you in your relationship with God? In his epistles, the apostle Paul seems to have observed that people have basically two motivations for serving God. One is a desire to please him, or at least not displease him, by keeping his commandments. The other is a deep love for him that eclipses everything else in their lives. In my life I’ve observed that I operate on a continuum where sometimes I’m closer to one motivation and sometimes closer to the other. However, in general, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that my motivation seems to be shifting more and more toward the pole where I’m motivated by my love for God.
But let’s face it. Getting to know about God and his rules doesn’t take that long. A few hours can teach you the basics of how to get along. Add a few years and you’ve had the time to really fill out the list of requirements. But it takes so much longer to get to really know God and knowing him is so vital if we’re to understand his rules.
In the kindergarten class of spirituality we understand God by the rules he’s given but as we grow and mature we begin to understand the rules we’ve been given by the God we know. Because of this as we grow in our understanding of God and our love for him we also grow in our obedience to him. Only now that obedience is not about appeasing God it’s about loving and being love by him.
In Galatians, Paul is addressing a group of people who having grown into a love motivated relationship with God are now being led back into a law motivated one. He’s trying to convince them that they’re retreating farther from God’s desire for them in the steps they are taking. He’s not suggesting that they break the law but rather that they let God through the Spirit back into the center of their lives. That they return to letting their love for God and their knowledge of him be their reason for everything they do.
And this is what God wants for all his children. The Holy Spirit is doing everything he can to show you the love of Jesus and your Heavenly Father. Let him also be you guide in showing you how to return that love.