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Foolish Efforts

Dunce Holding Paper Money ca. 2001Key Bible Verse: How foolish can you be?  After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? (Galatians 3:3)

Dig Deeper: Galatians 3: 1-5

Paul asked the Christ followers in the region of Galatia the two questions in today’s Key Bible Verse.

In other words: “You couldn’t live without sinning.  You couldn’t save yourselves from the consequences of your sin. God did that for you.  Are you now trying to live without sin without his help?  Are you trying to finish what he started?  Do you think you can perfect yourself by yourself?”

Paul challenged their thinking and he challenges ours.  He questions the usual mode of achieving spiritual growth, which is more effort and more willpower to make ourselves do more works and obey more rules more consistently.

Paul reminds the Galatians that God has given them his Spirit and this—combined with their faith, not their strenuous moral striving—is what will perfect them.

God doesn’t help those who help themselves.  God helps those who walk with him in faith.  Our efforts were never the impetus for God’s transforming grace.  They won’t be the impetus for our changed hearts either.

We don’t need willpower or self-effort.  We need faith that God will accomplish in us and for us what we can’t do ourselves.  He is the source of what we long for and need.

—Mike Ashcraft in My One Word

My Response: I will trust God to change my heart and release me from the following sinful behaviors: …

Thought to Apply: God does not give us the power to imitate him; he gives us his very self.—Oswald Chambers (Scottish minister, devotional writer)

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