Who is the Christ who stands in the centre of Paul’s testimony and preaching? He is the crucified Christ - ‘I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me’. He is the living Christ - ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’. In Christ, there is love - ‘He loved me’. In Christ there is life - He ‘lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). The world tells us to forget about Christ - ‘He’s out-of-date’. The Word of God calls us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, to keep walking in the Spirit. Don’t be a fool. Don’t let the world’s ‘patter’ drown out the Lord’s warning: ‘Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?… Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?’ (Galatians 3:1,3).
‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts’ (Galatians 4:6). The Spirit is not a reward we earn by being good people. The Spirit is God’s gift (Titus 3:5). Paul connects the gift of the Spirit with Christ’s death for us and our faith in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14). We do not come to God with our religion in one hand and our morality in the other, insisting that we deserve to be blessed by Him. We look away from ourselves to Christ - ‘Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling’ (Church Hymnary, 83). All pride in ourselves must be brought to Christ’s Cross as we humbly pray, ‘Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me, break me, melt me, mould me, fill me’ (Mission Praise, 613). God has given His Spirit to us. Let’s give ourselves to Him - to ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18).
What are we praying for when we ask God to fill us with His Spirit? We are praying ‘for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control’. This is ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23). How are we to be filled with the Spirit? How does the fruit of the Spirit grow in our lives? We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, saying in our hearts, ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’ (Galatians 6:14). ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’ (Mission Praise, 712). Looking to Him, let’s concentrate on the one thing that really matters - living as ‘a new creation’ (Galatians 6:15).