Finish Well (Day 38 Galatians 3:3 NET)

 Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?
Galatians 3:3 NET

This statement in Galatians 3:3 perhaps describes far too many of us today.  Indeed many start so well, walking in the Spirit with Christ on a daily basis, overcoming obstacles and temptations through the spirit, serving, witnessing, and living life to it’s fullest with the Spirit.  Then somehow, for some strange reason, at some point in our walk with the Spirit, we start to attempt things on our own with our own flesh.  Some of these things turn out well and then we are even quicker the next time to forsake the bond we have with the Spirit and attempt more things through our human effort.  I don’t know why this happens, when it happens, or even how it happens, but I see it all to frequently in the lives of believers.  To be honest I have seen it in my own life and it is a dreaded cancer that spreads so quickly if we fail to identify it and treat it aggressively. 

Consider all that you have done today, what was attempted in the Spirit and what was done through human effort?  Truth be told much of what we attempt is not done in the Spirit, in fact we seldom consult, or consider spiritual things at all in our daily lives.  This is true of both the clergy and the congregation at large.  I have considered these words today and decided that my days are to few to be wasted attempting to accomplish them with my own  effort.  I desire to maximize my impact on this world for the Kingdom of God and this can’t be achieved through human effort.  Instead, I must daily walk with the Spirit of God and ensure that all I attempt is through the Spirit.  If you desire to finish well consider the Spirit, rather than your own human effort as the primary means to accomplish your goal.  Certainly those who hear the words “well done” will have attempted more in the Spirit then they did in the flesh.


About Pastor Pete

Pete is the senior Pastor of Cowboy Fellowship in Pleasanton Texas. He is also the author of The Absolute Basics of Christianity, The Living Lamp, and a co-author of The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study series.
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3 Responses to Finish Well (Day 38 Galatians 3:3 NET)

  1. RoyceHart says:

    Hi Pastor – “walking with the Spirit” is one of those phrases that I have trouble with. It sounds so metaphysical, out of touch with reality. It seems to imply that all we need to do is pray and walk along, waiting for something to happen to make our situation sort itself out.

    Please don’t get me wrong: I’ve had that happen to me before! I prayed for a solution to my problem and, like a bolt from the blue, without any humanly plausible explanation, things got done and my problem evaporated. But just about as often, things didn’t work out; sometimes they got worse. Sometimes more problems manifested.

    I bring this up because I know folks that have been utterly exasperated by this. They’re already turned off by the thought of not being directly involved in resolving their own problems; then, when they’re at the end of their rope – when the reach of their problem exceeds their grasp, and they’ve no choice but to turn to God in prayer – their problems only pile up higher and deeper. Of course, like Job’s friends, professing Christians jump at this opportunity to exercise their “gift of encouragement” and regale these confused, frustrated folks with stories of hope and redemption. Before too long, they’re fed up and done with believing for God to set things right.

    In short, if there were ever any reason why believing folks walk away from their faith, this would have to be it. God’s under no obligation to explain Himself, and we’re all deserving of worse – but that doesn’t bring any peace when you’re just asking Him to meet you in the middle of your storm.

    • Pastor Pete says:

      Royce I understand what you are saying and think I might be able to help. When we view walking in the Spirit as a series of tasks it will always become exasperating and overwhelming over the course of time. People who find themselves in this situation forget that the Spirit naturally lives inside of all believers. Walking with the spirit is not an unnatural thing that requires endless preparation, or exhausting execution of various things on our part. Instead it only requires that we live as we naturally should in the Spirit. It is not a series of things we must do but rather the lifestyle we lead in Christ. Believing folks walk away when the check list so to speak gets to long and burdensome. Was it not Christ that said in Matthew 11:30 NET “For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” When the yoke becomes uncomfortable, and the burden hard to carry we can be certain that we are not walking in the Spirit but in something else. This is true even if the things that have caused the burden of the yoke, and heavy load appear to be a result of our spirituality. Walking in the Spirit is not burdensome but rather liberating and positive in every way for believers. If you experience less then you have traded in the good news of the gospel for something else. I agree with you that this happens frequently to many people but I think it is from a lack of understanding or because they have been lead astray by others who view them as something less than brothers and sisters in Christ. I am so glad you brought this up and I really hope my comments make some sense here.

      • RoyceHart says:

        Hi Pastor – thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions.

        That “check list” you referred to sounds like legalism, the thing that tripped up the Pharisees. I remember Jesus calling them out on it in Matthew 23:1-4: “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” I’m pretty sure he was talking about the layers and layers of rules and regulations the Pharisees added to the law as it was given to Moses, as if it wasn’t hard enough already.

        Unfortunately, that’s not the burden I’m referring to in my question. What I’m talking about is the burden of believing God in spite of everything that happens to us, especially the things that contradict our faith.

        In life and in business, there comes a point when you know that it only makes sense to quit what you’re doing and size up what went wrong. As a contrived metaphor, let’s say I set up a lemonade stand in the dead of winter. Eventually, common sense will arrive and suggest I try selling hot chocolate instead. Things might improve at that point if the world hasn’t written me off as a loon… or if I persist in selling lemonade until summer arrives!

        So let’s substitute my lemonade stand for something spiritual. I’m talking about maintaining a right attitude, a right faith, toward my God, even though my prospects look really bleak. Specifically, I believe God will provide me with a new work assignment, even though it has been months between contracts.

        I am doing what I am able to do. I’ve been learning new skills, using the job boards, answering phone calls and e-mails and keeping my chin up. A few little odd jobs trickle in, so I thank God for them and do my best with them. I am in the Word, prayed up and thanking God for supplying all our needs according to His riches in glory.

        I know better than to think I am entitled to anything because of what I’ve done, but I also know Whose I am, and I know He promised to take good care of His kids! (Philippians 4:19 and Luke 12:22-34)

        God forgive me, but where do I go to cash in this faith? Or should I be selling hot chocolate? (grin)

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