Gal 5:18-25 by No Excuses Coleman
18 But when you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: sexual vice, impurity, and sensuality,
20 the worship of false gods and sorcery; antagonisms and rivalry, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels, disagreements,
21 factions and malice, drunkenness, orgies and all such things. And about these, I tell you now as I have told you in the past, that people who behave in these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these.
24 All who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with all its passions and its desires.
25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let our behaviour be guided by the Spirit
As I was finally returning to my Wills and Trusts note cards, after a two hour interlude of Subway and iphone scrabble (honestly, who knew “pia,” “jiao,” “bevy,” “qi,” “em,” “el” and “es” were words?), I was reminded by Chris that it was my turn to write the Word of the Day.
Apparently, while I was studying for this midterm, Chris had been studying effective guilt trip methods. Without rebuke, he reminded how many others are buckling down for this midterm as well.
This also reminded me that Christ died for our sins, not our excuses – not even the excuses of stressed out law students.
I prayed last night before bed for the first time in weeks. I pray often, to be sure. But I am a strong believer that prayer should begin and end our days. Indeed, I am strong a believer that spiritual “obligations” like weekly church attendance and routine prayer should be observed.
Obligation. It’s a funny word, there. Do we husbands and boyfriends complain of an obligation to stop by the store and buy flowers for the women in our lives? No, because we feel lucky to have such women to bring flowers home to. And maybe they don’t love us more because of the flowers, and we don’t say that we are “proving” our love with the flowers. But that one act of devotion refocuses our attention, away from ourselves and back to them. It brings us back to the simplicity of our affection – we’re not worrying about x, y and z, we are quite simply renewing our devotion (and, it puts a smile on her face too).
Actually, observing routine acts of devotion are as “obligatory” as physical exercise is to the body: No one is forcing you to do it, but without it, the body deteriorates.
Regular prayer, church attendance, sincere and personal requests of forgiveness for our sins, are, like regular physical exercise, actions that build up our spiritual “muscles.” These acts make us stronger and humbler Christian men. And, like regular physical exercise, these acts can be fun once we get up and force ourselves back to a consistent work out.
The only reason prayer has not begun and ended my days, is mental and physical exhaustion (read: excuses). I have missed church, and often gone days with little or no connection to Christ.
To weaker men, stress and hardship become the handmaidens of sin. I know the many hardships I’ve encountered these past years in law school, or past months and weeks even, can be met and even outmatched by several of the men of Engage. All the same, it weighs me down, and I unwittingly excuse myself from regular devotion.
The more we excuse ourselves from our spiritual walk, the more opportunity we leave for sin: We miss church, forget to pray, don’t make a Bible study, put off a simple act like writing a Word of the Day or fail to spend frequent and necessary time with Christ. All this neglect creates a hole; and that hole is most frequently filled by sin: drunkenness, sex, impurity, greed, jealousy, antagonism and rivalry, or what have you.
So, I wrote this Word of the Day, despite my ready-made midterm excuse. I’ll teach high school kids in Confirmation classes tonight, despite that midterm hanging over me. I’ll even pray before bed again tonight. With simple and routines acts of devotion, I’ll renew my vow to walk with Christ, and I’ll let the Holy Spirit – not the convenient excuse of stress – guide my behavior.