"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
Recently, I was driving home after a long day of work and I saw a highway patrol car parked on the side of the freeway on which I was traveling with a speed gun pointed right at me. My heart sank as I passed the patrol car and noticed that he was entering the freeway and quickly pulling up behind my car. There’s just something about the anxiety that sets in when a police car is behind you that makes even the most honest of people downright uneasy. You can imagine my relief as the officer put on his lights and raced past me to pull over a driver who was in front of me.
As I reflected on my near miss, I looked down to see how fast I was actually going and noticed something that in my panic I had overlooked. I had my car on cruise control. The race car driver within me hates cruise control because it takes control of the speed at which I can drive my car; but on this occasion it most likely saved me from a speeding ticket since I’m ninety-nine percent sure that I would have been driving too fast if my cruise control had not been set.
In the sport of car racing, the rules making teams for NASCAR require that every driver utilize a “governor” on their engines for certain races. These restrictor plates help to limit the top speed that a car can race at in order to promote safety and competitive balance (it comes as no surprise that most drivers and fans hate the idea). Whether or not these limitations work is debatable, but the goal is honorable.
But what if such restrictions were unnecessary? Scripture teaches that there is a scenario in which “no law” (or governor, or cruise control) is required at all. In fact, there is a way of life that produces a fruit for which there is no guilt, or even possibility, of wrong behavior.
In Galatians 5, we are told of such a life when Paul writes concerning the Spirit-filled life. It is a life whereby we give control of our lives to the Holy Spirit. Paul says of the Spirit-filled life that the fruit it produces is, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control;” all things that no law would condemn. In essence, it is a life that no one need monitor, or police, because it is a life that is accountable to God and His ways; it is a life that is lived by the direction and under the influence of God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit.
How do we live a life like that? It starts with recognizing a Holy God who cannot tolerate sin. It starts with giving up control and confessing our evil intention to run our own lives apart from God’s wisdom and influence. It starts with praying for God’s mercy and committing ourselves to Him by choosing to be obedient to His will which is only possible through faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross and through His resurrection.
When we find ourselves in that place of brokenness God says, “Now you are ready for me to do great and extraordinary things in your life; miraculous things; things which are beyond what you can imagine.”
Are you ready for that kind of life? Are you ready for that kind of freedom? Or are you still in need of policing and constant watching? I pray that you choose the former, for in giving up control you gain freedom; freedom to choose God and to serve His purposes. You don’t need badges, you need the daily influence of God’s Holy Spirit to set you free to do His Will, for His Kingdom, for His Glory. May God bless you as you continue to seek His Holy Face.
Posted on Wed, October 3, 2012
by John Hill