Sunday, June 19, 2011

Galatians 5:24-26. Standing out from the crowd

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

When I was first converted I went to a Christian conference and sat next to a Church of England minister and challenged him about infant baptism. He replied, "Why are you trying to pick a fight?"

He was quite right. I was immature and the Holy Spirit had hardly begun to work in my life on the task of sanctification. Again it should be emphasized that this is not a passive osmosis, We must work out our own salvation in company with the Spirit. We need to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires and this can take a lifetime. Especially in the most passionate! Keeping in step with the Spirit is pretty hard too. The picture is of a squad of men marching in the army. I remember my time in the Combined Cadet Force at school. Not only was it difficult to get the rhythm right, but there was always some joker who insisted on getting it wrong as a bit of a lark. Sometimes it was me. Yet when I see an army parade, like the Trooping of the Color last week on the Queen's Birthday parade, it really is a magnificent sight.

At its heart we are talking about a matter of will. We don't do it because we can't do it; it's because we want to stand out from the crowd. Hence Paul writes, "Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

We belong to the "ME" generation. Everyone thinks he is due his five minutes of fame. Ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up and the answer is often, "Famous." Famous for what? you might ask but then you find it doesn't matter. Far better to be loved by God than be famous.

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