Liberty is a wonderful gift from our Father, but it seems unbridled liberty is the primary identifiable Christian characteristic in the lives of many today. It is as though the unrestrained willfulness of the reckless and unredeemed soul in godless living had been so much a part of their psyches that it missed the call to be crucified with Christ. No doubt Christians might still be tempted to go their own way without regard for the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit, but we ought to be so calmed and content in following His lead that we can easily cast down the temptation to retain the selfish bent of the old unrighteous tree.
Complaining and grumbling, too, are hallmarks of some professing Christians who cannot or will not accept a hint of suffering alongside Jesus Christ in a wasting world. Likewise, the siren call of the wild to return to inbred and unleashed native appetites such as lead the worldly on the broad way to destruction might surely reach our ears, but it is only encouraged by the enemy of our souls when he sees in us a willingness to lean closer to hear it.
The soul might be tempted to acquire or retain many uncharacteristic motives from the worldly life, but the one God has ordained for us is the one that comes only by the denial of self, the taking up of Christ’s cross, and in humbly submitting our purchased lives to His way, truth, and life. That life is identifiable by no less than what is described as agape, the impossible-for-man love that only the Holy Spirit can deliver into our hearts, and then, only at our yearning for it.
Doing whatever we do with agape love and for God’s glory will produce in us peace and patience that allow us to experience joy in the Holy Spirit, and thereby further enable us to walk in the ways of Christ rather than in the flesh.
You and I, as professing followers of Christ, hold the handle of the door that would open to that kind of love for God or keep it shut. Only the memory of and consent to the wild and unholy life we had before Christ, calling to an unresolved will, can prevent the infusion of God’s love from filling us and changing us finally into the image of Christ He ordained for our lives.
We should never forget that God, through our knowledge of His Word and Spirit, has already made available to us everything that pertains to life and godliness. It is ours to receive, if we will be willing and obedient to His call rather than to the call of the deadly wild life.
Pat McWhorter operates Grace Warrior Ministries and is the author of several Christian teaching books focused on discipleship and grounding new believers in the faith. He also teaches discipleship and assists ministries in Africa and Pakistan with disciple-making efforts.