When we stop attempting to gain inner transformation through our own human powers of will & determination, we are then open to a wonderful new realization;
- that is, inner righteousness to be received from God.
One must keep in mind that the needed change within us is actually God’s work & not ours. The required change demands for an inside job, of which only God can perform within us. We as individuals cannot attain or earn this righteousness of the kingdom of God through any acts/laws of man; it is given as a gift through His grace.
In the book of Romans 5:13 & throughout the Apostle Paul goes to extreme lengths to explain that Righteousness is a gift of God, he repeats this message at least 35 times. Each time he points out that righteousness is unattainable through human effort. Therefore the Word says, ‘Those who receive the abundance of Grace and the free gift of Righteousness (Shall) reign in life through one man Jesus Christ.” Because this is a free gift, it does not mean we are to stand still and do nothing. After all, human striving for righteousness is insufficient as the righteousness from God is based upon the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. We as humans are provided with disciplines for & of the spiritual life as a means of receiving His grace. The disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us.
In Galatians 6:8, the Apostle Paul says, ‘He who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.’ Taking an analogy for example of a farmer who sows the grain. He provides the right conditions for grain growing, he cultivates the ground, he plants & waters the seed & then the natural forces of nature take over & seedlings rise from the soil. The spiritual disciplines process works in the same way. The disciplines are God’s way of getting us into the ground; they put us where He can work within us & transform us. Spiritual disciplines can do nothing on their own, they are the mode to where God can do something for us, they are God’s means of Grace. But the main objective and lesson from the seed sown in the ground is:
- The seed has to die first in itself in order to produce a new plant and life;
- We need to die in ourselves before God can transform us into a new life – being a new creation.
The path of righteousness does not produce changes in our lives; it is a vehicle or mode which places us where Godly changes can occur. This is the path of disciplined grace. Once we live & walk on the path of disciplined grace for a season, we will discover internal changes. According to Galatians 5:22-23, in this spiritual discipline we experience divine love which has slipped into our spirit & overcome our natural habitual patterns, suddenly releasing the flow (Fruits of the Spirit) of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control.
According to Amplified Bible in Romans 14:17, After all; the kingdom of God is not a matter of (Receiving the) food & drink (One prefers), but instead is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) & (Heart) peace & joy in the Holy Spirit.
According to the New International Version Bible in Romans 14:17, for the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating & drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God & approved by men.
From both scriptures above, we glean the answer that as natural people without spiritual discipline, we produce mire & dirt, but now in grace and being disciplined through His Word, we produce righteousness, peace & joy in the Holy Spirit.
Hold onto the next episode where we will discuss the way of death by turning the Spiritual Disciplines into Laws.
The Writer travels with you seeking this spiritual discipline.