Religion Trips Us Up
"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses." -Galatians 5:16-18
Have you ever heard the story of the big red button? I used to see it often in cartoons as a kid. The cartoon character is presented with a situation in which there is a "big red button" he or she was not allowed to touch, and sooner or later they can't help themselves.
I think this is a lot like religion versus a relationship with God. When we're living in religion, we're bound by a set of rules that we have to live by in order to be accepted by God and others in our faith. The success or failure of our religion is based upon our ability to perform certain activities or refrain from certain ones, (avoiding the big red button), based on the nature of what our faith law says. But Jesus came so we wouldn't have do that at all on our own. He was the fulfillment of the law, and yet set us free from it. He came first so that we might have life, and life more abundantly. He came to set us free!
"When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit." -Romans 7:5&6
If we feel bound, I think it means we have not fully embraced the resurrection life that God desires for us. Jesus sets us free from a list of rules and regulations, but we learn how to follow them when we simply place our trust in Him. Our sanctification is God-birthed, versus self-birthed. Sooner or later, we have no desire to press the big red button, because Jesus fills our hearts in every area that lacks.
Are you living under religion or are you led by the Holy Spirit? Recommended resource: Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven's Agenda