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Under is not bad

Have you ever had that one true friend who pours wise counsel into your life, even when you might not always understand you are receiving counsel? I am blessed to have had several good friends over the years. When seeking defined purpose, looking into future plans, or trying to find out how we can change something that has given us issues, we seek counsel - advice to help us make wise choices. There are just times when we need the "wise advice" which functions as guidance for our lives that only comes from a loyal brother or sister in the Lord who can point us in the direction that brings out more of Christ in our lives. When seeking advice, where do you turn? Do you have one or two of those 'close allies' who help you see things through the eyes of Christ? If not, then you are truly missing out on learning to live freely - animated and motivated by the Spirit of God that dwells within you!

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? (Galatians 5:16-18)

Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. We all want to know how we can move from a place of living ho-hum lives, inconsistent in focus, not knowing how to live free from self-determined wheel-spinning. It is a good quest to determine to live 'free', but most of us really don't understand what that entails. To live freely we must be animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Animated lives are full of life, moving with purposeful activity. The thing to guard against here is the tendency we have to engage in any activity simply for the sake of being engaged in activity. When truly animated by God's Spirit, our activity has a purpose. Motivated lives speaks to our "cause" for which we live. We have a desire to be participants in God's kingdom living more than we do the things of this world.

It is only THEN that we won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. It is only when we have granted God's Spirit access to "control" our lives that we realize the greatest freedom within our lives! This seems like a contradictory state - free, but under control. Freedom is never the absence of boundaries, but rather the enjoyment of living within the boundaries established by the one who knows the bigger picture within which we should live our lives in safety! Sin is really a condition of heart and mind which leads to us pushing the boundaries. We want to live outside the boundaries because we have not learned the contentment of the safety the boundaries produce. Why do we resist boundaries? COMPULSIONS. In purely psychological terms, this refers to the strong and often irresistible impulse to perform an action which is often irrational or contrary to our real desires. We want to live one way - but, alas, we live another. Ugh! This can be so frustrating!

Getting a handle on our compulsiveness is certainly one way of changing our lives. Compulsions are first of all quite strong - there is some real force pulling or driving us. We have to identify the force if we are to resist it. This is where God's Spirit is so important to recognize in our lives - it is often his gentle nudges which alert us to the "wind in our sails" that is driving us to do something we may do well to resist, or the "magnetic pull" of something drawing us in. The Spirit is often telling us to put down our sails, and dig in! If we do, we see just how safe the boundaries really are! Compulsions are irresistible because they present such a good "front" to us. It is like they have a "marketing" campaign which makes the action look way better than it will ever be! The "image" presented is one thing - the "reality" represented is another. Candy looks appealing - the extra pound on my hips does not! Spirit-led lives find the boundaries as less and less "restrictive" the more they see the futility of obeying the compulsiveness of their selfishness. There is something quite "freeing" in living under the leadership of one who has nothing more than our best interest in mind! Take wise counsel - learn to live under that wise direction! Just sayin!

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