Most of us have something that just keeps tripping us up. Maybe it’s your temper, or lying, or pornography, or gossip, or any number of other sin. We confess it to God and determine we’re never going to do that again and then we do anyway. Maybe your problem is that you’re focusing on not sinning instead of where your focus should be.
In Galatians 2:19 Paul says that he died to the law so that he could live for God. Eugene Petersen puts it this way: “I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man.” (MSG) But how does not focusing on “the rules” help me to keep them?
The first thing to understand what Paul goes on to say in verse 20 that by faith he died with Christ and that now Jesus lives his life through Paul. So the focus isn’t on the rules, it’s on knowing Jesus. Let me illustrate to help understand how that works.
It’s rather embarrassing to admit, but last week I wiped out on my motorcycle. It’s embarrassing because it was a stupid rookie mistake. I was in the Okanagan riding on a beautiful little narrow winding road with gorgeous scenery and some fun tight corners.
There was a car behind me that I allowed to push me a little faster than I should have been going. My first rookie mistake. Then I came upon a sudden sharp right hand curve with two motorcycles coming the other way. Knowing I was going faster than I should have been I was concerned about drifting into their lane and that’s when I made my critical mistake.
The adage in biking is look towards where you want to go not at what you want to avoid. This is because you will go where you look. Well I choked and looked at the bikes I wanted to avoid and that’s exactly where I went. When I tried to compensate I leaned too far in and my foot peg caught and down I went. By the grace of God I slid right between the two and into the small ditch.
Neither I nor the bike were too much the worse for wear, some mostly cosmetic damage to both of us, but that same principle is true in the spiritual realm. Where you focus is where you’ll head. If you focus on keeping the rules it’ll be your effort and you will crash. If you focus on knowing and desiring Jesus he will live his life through you often without you even realizing.