The alarm clock on our headboard, during the week, is always set to go off at 6 AM. It is not uncommon for me to be awake well before this. This morning was no different. As I watched the clock turn 5:30 AM, my thoughts were drawn to the passage of Scripture from which I will be preaching this coming Sunday. It is Galatians 4:21-31. I have been contemplating this passage since Monday morning, and this passage is just a piece of the overall conversations I have been having with the Spirit over the last several months.
Tuesday night, Mary Jo and I went to Des Moines to hear Christian fiction author, Ted Dekker speak. To say his words were powerful would be inadequate, but what I really found interesting is that virtually everything he said he had been and is discovering is in line with the teaching and realizations of Graham Cooke, a prophetic teacher of Scripture and man of God, whose teaching has greatly opened my eyes to the deeper truths of the gospel and the pure good news. Both speak of the true identity of one who is in Christ as sons and daughters of God and everything that accompanies that standing and position.
As I have been preaching through Paul’s letter to the Galatian believers, I have been hit, multiple times, with the realization that what often is taught as the gospel today is really an inferior counterfeit because it has a measure of religious code, requirements, dictates and regulations in it. It often is combined in some way with the bondage of a system, rather than the relationship we have with God through believing the message of Christ, which is that He is the Faith and Faithful One, and if we participate in His death, we also participate in His resurrection. The kicker is this: it is not me who is resurrected. That old nature stays dead. What is resurrected, this new life, is the life of Christ inside this body. This is the Spirit of Christ who God sent forth into the hearts of all those who believe and have received the adoption as God’s sons and daughters.
So, what does this have to do with paralysis by analysis? In a gospel that is, to some degree, dependent upon a system, the common question that must be asked by the adherent, at virtually every turn, is “Can I or can’t I?” Can I do this? Am i not supposed to do this? As I was considering Paul’s words from 4:21, “Tell me, those desiring to be under law, do you not hear the law?” this is what came to my mind.
Due to the restrictive nature of the law, the question, “Can I or can’t I,” must be asked at every turn. “Can I” if certain conditions exist or don’t exist? “Can I” if it is a certain time of day or year? “Can I” if someone does something first? “Can I” if no one is watching? “Can I” if… You get the picture. What kind of life is that? We become robots, automatons, unable to think and react to different situations from the nature of Christ’s Spirit because we believe it necessary to ask, “Can I or can’t I?”
That is paralysis by analysis and that is not truly living. Did not Christ say that He came to bring life and that abundant?
Look, it is often said by many in the church that truly living can only be found in Christ. I agree with the statement, yet the way that those who, to some measure, live by a gospel that is tainted with religious rules and systems and codes and requirements and dictates, demonstrate that they do not truly comprehend the depth and truth of this statement for they live in bondage. True living means being truly free to enjoy an intimate relationship with our Father and everything He has given to us, His sons and daughters, in this world to enjoy in life.
I refuse to live a life characterized by “paralysis by analysis,” because then my life is based upon some religious code, not the leading of Christ’s Spirit which resides in my heart, and from which I have my new identity. I will live by that Spirit which resides in my heart and makes me a new creation and I will allow the Spirit to naturally (this is the Law of Christ) direct me as His fruit/characteristics come out in me and how I live.
Religion, with everything you are, take a hike. You have no place in my relationship with my true Father.
James bar Yahweh