Scripture: Romans 7:1-6
Observation: When we turn our face to God and submit our lives fully to Jesus, we are dead to sin and released from having to obey that law that we were once bound to. He shows us how we can go from living a life dictated by the law to living a life full of the Holy Spirit.
Application: Let’s be honest today, friends: I love being the life of the party. (I didn’t say I’m good at it, just that I love it.)
More accurately, I love being the center of attention. I can pretend I don’t, but I do. If you’re familiar with the DISC personality assessment, I’m an off-the-charts high “I.” I’ll speak in public, dance in public, sing in public, rap in public – nothing is off limits.
It’s hard to admit the truth, but here it is: I'm not good at singing. Or dancing. And certainly not rapping. But I like to pretend, and mostly I like to make other people laugh at me/with me while I pretend to be good at those things. It brings me joy to bring other people joy. I'm not particularly funny so I know I can't tell jokes. But I know I can make them laugh at me, and since the whole "at me" rather than "with me" thing doesn't really matter to me (#noshame), it's worth it. The laughter is the same. Sometimes I pretend to be embarrassed that I’m so shameless. But mostly, I'm just embarrassed that I'm not embarrassed at all.
I think the reason I’m not easily embarrassed is because when it comes down to it, my life is so full that I don’t really care. It’s filled to the brim with love and with laughter and with life. Sure, it’s punctuated at times of heartache and questioning and grief, but my life is so much bigger than those struggles. I consider myself a master at figuring out ways to make my struggles an entertaining story because life is just better that way, you know? I once figured out how to take one of the worst and most awkward moments of life -- which included having a room FULL of medical students examining a weird rash that had spread all over my body -- and laugh about it with friends. I’m telling you people, I am shameless.
I like it that way. Life just feels right. Sure, there are social constructs and rules in place that I pretty much blatantly ignore. I’m supposed to be embarrassed by what I do and what happens to me and instead I just embrace it. Embracing life feels so much better than being embarrassed by it.
Just like living in the Spirit feels so much better than living life dictated by the law.
We talked about checklists last week, how we can too often begin to focus on following a list of do’s and don’ts instead of simply following God. In verse 6, Paul tells us the same thing:
“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.”
When you put your faith in Jesus, you are free. You are no longer captive to the power of trying to be enough and do enough. Are you living like someone who’s free? Are you living a life that is full of love and laughter and life-giving relationships?
In the book of John, one of the four accounts of Jesus’s life found at the beginning of the New Testament, Jesus tells us this: “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10, NLT) Another translation puts it like this: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV) Through Jesus, we are not only saved from our sin but we are given the ability to live a full, rich, satisfying life.
When you live with the Spirit of God within you, your life is full. It’s rich. It’s satisfying. It’s abundant. Your desires are God’s desires. You possess the “fruits of the Spirit,” which are essentially the things are you’re filled with when you submit yourself fully to God: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. You live life unashamed and confident because the Lord Jesus Christ lives in you and shines through you.
That’s the kind of life I want to lead. What about you?
Also, serious life question: If someone wrote a rap about the fruits of the spirit, do you think that someone would become famous?
Just asking for a friend.
Prayer: God, thank you for filling me with your Spirit. I pray I can live a full life, one filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, a life that glorifies you in every way. Thank you for sending your Son to fulfill the law, for sending the Holy Spirit to walk with me and guide me no matter what I face. Amen.