“Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsion of selfishness.” Galatians 5:16, The Message
Three words grab my attention in Eugene Peterson’s version of Galatians 5:16. Freely, Spirit, Compulsion.
Freedom defined is disentanglement from any bondage – and in the modern sense, this also means “unaffected” by forces other than “God’s Spirit.” To be animated and motivated by God’s Spirit is to consciously move, and live, and have our being in Him. We can only be “slaves” to God’s Spirit if we gain complete freedom from anything in this world – love of money, friends, desires, influence, power, prestige, lovers, food, body, wants and even charity and good works. These are in fact our source of “compulsions” because we are naturally selfish and want to satisfy every whim and will to either prove or affirm our existence.
To be free is to be “born again” literally, so that our “natural” selves can be changed. Only God’s Spirit can accomplish such change. God’s grace is that we realize how much we need God in the process and His unconditional forgiveness frees us even from the pangs of our own conscience. We are “normally” unrighteous, but as we move, and live, and have our being in God, this normalcy changes and we begin on a journey to reformation.