Laws fill our society. There are laws and regulations that are so complex that lawyers can’t understand them. If you call the IRS office for help in understanding the laws regarding taxes and you follow their advice you might still be breaking the law – and you are liable, not the person who gave you the advice. At times it seems like that following one law will cause, or even require you to break another law. When you live with that many regulating and conflicting laws, it may seem like you are constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering who’s going to catch you next.
The same is true of religions. Sometimes they are filled with so many do’s and don’t’s that your head spins when you are trying to follow them. In the days of Jesus, the Pharisees had 613 rules and regulations they had to follow….or was it 616? It was hard to keep up. Most rules and laws tell you what not to do so you won’t be a terrible person. It seems like every time we turn around, another law comes around to help us not be a terrible person. As Paul dealt with those lists of rules and regulations, he reminded us that there is a true source of goodness in this world. “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:18)
Put simply, if you do that which is right by following God’s leadership, you don’t need the law to tell you what not to do. There are a lot of sins that seem to call us to follow. The law and sins of the flesh, though, are at odds with the Spirit. We are under the authority of the flesh – and the law, or we are under the authority of the Spirit. If we are following the flesh, the natural desires of sin, we worry about whether or not what we do will get us into a right relationship with God, if we worry about God at all. When we are led by the Spirit, we have forgotten all about those actions and those worries because we are living in a relationship with God through the power of Jesus Christ.
You can spend your life paralyzed by the law – trying to make sure you follow each and every step of someone’s list of rules and hoping that God will love you. In the long run, that leads to joylessness. On the other hand, you can let the Spirit lead you so that you do the right things in life by this new nature. You begin to desire the things of God every day and you rejoice in seeing that happen. This is how we get joy. Live today in the joy of God as you let the Spirit lead you.
Lord God, let me live today under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let me experience the joy of following You in all that I do and may that cause me to be a blessing to others. Thank You for freeing me from the tyranny of the law.