THE GOSPEL OPENS OUR EYES
"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'?"
// Galatians 3:1-6
As the power of the grace of this glorious Gospel opens our eyes, it can be tempting to dilute what’s happening in our hearts with a dose of foolishness. Yes, foolishness.
When we are feeling the energy and movement of God’s power exerting itself in our hearts, transforming us, we can be tempted to “help” God by adding our own efforts and strength. This is foolishness. The desire to meddle with God’s power stems from our old slave mindset, and it’s at this point that we need to run to our Father and ask Him to divest us of that mentality. That kind of thinking - that we can add a little effort of our own here or there to help things along a bit further - has a bewitching effect. It mesmerizes us; it captivates us and makes us think that somehow, because of our desires or efforts alone, we have gotten for ourselves, by “the arm of the flesh,” what only was accomplishable by the arm of the Lord.
To quote Paul, who puts it most poignantly: “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?” Do we want to be fools who stymie and stunt the growth of our spirits by imposing carnal, fleshly efforts into what God is doing in our hearts? Do we want to think that our energy or will alone can do what only God can do? Do we want to be so utterly stupid as to go there, to think that way? That would leave us spinning our wheels in vain, thinking we were going somewhere because we can hear the tires grind and see them smoke — all whilst we sit on the blocks, going nowhere.
It is vain to think we can add anything, even our good-willed intentions, to the grace of God; and, truth be told, we do vain things like that only in order to stroke our own vanity. The moment we embrace pride and think ourselves (our efforts, our intentions) the source of our growth in God, is the very moment in which we stop receiving grace, for God only gives His grace to the humble. If we find ourselves there, in that place of prideful hearts puffed up with vain imaginations about what we can do for God in our own hearts, then we need only to humble ourselves, admit our pride to Him, and abandon our efforts by the wayside. Then the scales will fall from our eyes and we will see, again, the grace extended to us.
We cannot add our work or effort to that of God’s; it is with “all His energy that He powerfully works within” us that alone transforms who we are (see Colossians 1:29). Let us be wise by keeping our hands held out to receive the gift of grace, instead of becoming fools that meddle with the work of God by trying to add anything of our energy to it.