If you’ve read the Old Testament you know the Israelites were constantly trying to keep the Jewish law and forever failing. The whole point of the law was to demonstrate our inability to attain God’s standard on our own. Righteousness, God’s holy standard, can only be obtained through the power of God. It is when we admit we are inadequate and totally submit to God that we find a path to overcome the law. This is why in the New Testament Jesus arrives as our Savior, paying the penalty for our sin, and providing through faith in Him a pathway to victory. Through our faith in Jesus, we are provided with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to overcome our sin with love which abolishes the law altogether.
This is the issue that the apostle Paul was writing about in the book of Galatians. Some of the churches in Galatia were teaching that believers in Jesus still needed to keep the old Jewish law. Paul very clearly makes the point that the law is fulfilled through our faith in Jesus demonstrated by our love for one another. Our human limitations make it impossible for us to achieve righteousness; however, by accessing the power of God through the Holy Spirit we have no limitations.
If you’re a runner, no matter how hard you train, at some point you will reach your limit. You can’t endlessly train and consistently get faster and faster. You have a limit. It’s the same in all physical endeavors. There is always a limit. Our mental capacity has a limit as well. Some have a much higher limit than others, but for most of us there is a clear limit to the amount of knowledge we can store in our heads at any one time. If we are followers of Jesus, our spiritual capacity has no limit. We have been connected to the limitless power of God. The book of Galatians outlines some steps we need to take to maintain that connection.
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 (NIV)
Just like the runner who buys the best running shoes, or the student who takes careful notes in class, we need to nurture our spiritual connection to God with the appropriate tools.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
If you’re a believer, I’m sure you seen the above list many times before. I hope you’ve made a concerted effort to implant these attitudes in your heart. This is the fuel that keeps the power of God alive in you. The fruit of the Spirit is that which will guide you toward serving God through service to others.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
Paul is telling us in the above passage that loving service to others fulfills the law. Loving service to others is our calling card as followers of Jesus. When we focus our lives on serving others we have obeyed the command Jesus gave in the book of John.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)
The love we have for God should fill us with a love for others. There are plenty of distractions in this world that will try to keep you from fully living out this command, but you have the power of the Holy Spirit to assist you in pushing those obstructions aside. Your righteousness is made complete when you live with love for others in your heart.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NIV)
If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ you’ve made the right choice. You have been filled with the Holy Spirit and now possess the unlimited power of God. I want to encourage you to put that power to good use. Employ the fruits of the Spirit in every situation you encounter throughout your day. Practice responding in all cases with love. Look for the places God is at work in and around your life and join in His efforts. You have been granted the ability to transmit God’s love into the lives of those around you. This is an awesome responsibility. Fear not. God is with you and He has no limits.