Does God Really Make a Difference?

This coming Sunday, I’ll be preaching about being in step with the Spirit of God. In our series on Freedom in Christ in the letter to the Galatians, Paul takes us to what I would call the crux of the Christian life…. how to actually be effected by the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, in other words, how to allow God to make a difference in our lives. As a a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, we all believe that the Spirit of Christ dwells in us. This is repeated several times in scripture. (Read Romans 8:9-11 to see what Paul says about it) So if Christ’s Spirit dwells in us, it should make a difference in our lives, right? Then why are so many Christians living in defeat, despair, discouragement, sin and all the rest and look no different than any other person in the world? Good question, read on!
As I have observed Christians over the past 40+ years, and even in my own life, I have been amazed at how we often look and act just like everyone else in the world. This should not be! Peter calls Christians a “peculiar people”. Now I would agree that most of us are pretty peculiar, but that’s not what Peter was saying. He goes on to talk about the fact that God has called us out of the worldliness of sin and into a life of holiness and being set apart for the glory of God. Since Christ lives inside us, shouldn’t we be different? I would say we should, and I would also say WE CAN! 
 
As we mature in the Christian life, we have the opportunity to grow into Christlikeness. But it won’t happen automatically, and it won’t happen magically. We must choose to grow! Now what do I mean by that? Every time we are confronted with our flesh, we have to make a choice. We can choose to react as the flesh would lead us to react, such as in fear, worry, stress, anxiety, anger, revenge, malice, greed, materialism, self-preservation, selfishness, or any other carnal reaction. OR, we can choose to submit to God and call upon the Holy Spirit who lives inside us to give us power and strength to rise above the world and react with grace, humility, forgiveness, love and service to others. It really is our choice. Of course, most Christians don’t want to hear this because it feels so much better and more natural to react in the flesh. We have to understand that fueling the flesh is a much more natural feeling than submitting to God’s Holy Spirit. But the outcome of each choice is so much different! 
 
When we choose to react in the flesh, we are playing right into the devil’s plan. Now how many Christians really want to do that? I would suggest that none of us want to, but we do because, well, frankly it’s easier. But we as believers are called to not take the easy approach. We are called to submit and obey God. Paul says the way we do that is by our daily walk in life. It has to be the small steps that we take, each moment of each day. In Galatians 5:16 it says, But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. It’s our decision and we must be willing to make the hard choices to let the Holy Spirit keep us walking with the Spirit. 
 
This is the way that God can make a difference in your life. Believe me, we will avoid so many heartaches and difficulties if we will simply keep in constant step with the Spirit. This is my prayer for my life and it is also my prayer for believers in our church and community. May God truly make a difference in you as you submit to him!
 
Blessings,
Pastor Jim