Saturday, July 22, 2017

No more white noise

Tell me this one thing: How did you receive the Spirit? Did you receive the Spirit by following the law? No, you received the Spirit because you heard the message about Jesus and believed it. You began your life in Christ with the Spirit. Now do you try to complete it by your own power? That is foolish. You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope they were not wasted! Does God give you the Spirit because you follow the law? Does God work miracles among you because you follow the law? No, God gives you his Spirit and works miracles among you because you heard the message about Jesus and believed it. (Galatians 3:2-5 ERV)

Do you ever "complicate" things by adding just way too much to the time you take to do something, or by adding so many requirements that must be met before you will do it? I do on occasion and whenever I do, I find myself in a muddle that kind of bogs me down. I don't move at other times simply because I get confused about what I should really do as a result of all the "noise" in my life from that which I have allowed to complicate the picture. Whenever we attempt to "make better" what God has already declared to be "perfect", we just end up adding stuff that we could label as "unnecessary noise".

Paul is dealing with the Galatian church - not just the leaders, but those who have been busy adding "noise" to the daily walk of each of the believers there. In simplest terms, they were requiring some of the old "rules" of the Law of Moses to be kept in addition to the finished work of grace in these believer's lives. Noise - pure and simple - lends complexity, makes it hard to sort things out as well as we should, and makes us work harder to get at the core of what is at hand. As Paul points out, we didn't receive the Spirit of God by following any set pattern of rules - so to reintroduce those into our lives is kind of like adding "noise" to a symphony!

Some of us don't sleep well in a completely quiet house. We need what some refer to as 'white noise' - that little bit of hum produced by the turning ceiling fan, or the gentle in and out breathing of someone in bed next to you. Remove that "white noise" and we are like hyper-alert and just don't get into that place of rest we so desperately desire. In a spiritual sense, when we need all this created 'white noise' of the rules we insist on or requirements we believe must be met in order to achieve some measure of "spiritual position" to make us feel secure about where we are in relationship with God, we miss out on the beauty of the simple "rest" he has for us in this place of grace.

While this may not seem like much at first, the more "noise" we add to the simplicity and sweetness of grace, the less we become comfortable with the peace grace produces in our lives. What we need to do is learn to quiet some of the "noise" and really settle into the peace! Just sayin!