The Shortcut to Success – At Everything
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5
We all long for the shortcut to success. Whether it’s weight loss or financial reward, we don’t want to work hard daily for years to attain our goals. Rather, we desire the easy weight loss pill and the winning lottery ticket. The success of unscrupulous salesmen relies on our natural desire for the quick, easy fix. Commercials readily promise enhanced sexuality, weight loss, health, or improved intelligence – all in an easy-to-take pill.
I’ve been there. In my addiction, I wanted the easy way out and I saw God as my magical fix. When I was told that all I needed to do was surrender myself to Christ and my addiction would be gone, I was thrilled. When I thought I did that and then still relapsed, I was frustrated. Did I not say the magical words? What did I do wrong?
I made the mistake a lot of us have made in our faith. I thought that once I decided in my mind that I believed, that the rest was done for me. We may not consciously say this, but this is how we live. We call ourselves Christians and we believe, but then we leave the work of transformation up to God. If it happens or not, that must just be what God wanted.
In today’s passage, Paul says the spirit filled life is not magical or accidental. He says that those who live the Spirit-filled life are those who have set their mind on the things of the Spirit and then act accordingly.
In my addiction, this meant that if I wanted to experience recovery, I had to live like it. I had to go to treatment, attend meetings, do my daily reading, and change my behaviors to pursue sobriety instead of addiction. It’s no different in my faith. If I want to live the Spirit-filled life, I must daily choose to do those things that are compatible with faith. I must read, pray, meditate, and obey Christ – loving God and my neighbors.
Belief isn’t a short-cut to God doing everything for us. Authentic belief is knowledge in our head that manifests as life-changing behavior. To experience the Spirit-filled life, we must daily choose to live that kind of life. Faith and recovery do not simply happen.