Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? – Galatians 3:3
Our culture is obsessed with podcasts, books, and videos about self-improvement. I get it. On my shelf right now I have several dozen books about building habits, coaching others, and developing organizations. They contain principles and concepts to help us have better, more efficient, and hopefully happier lives. But in our obsession with finding the right method or principles, we often forget where to find our true power.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul was combatting a group that claimed people must follow Jewish customs before they could truly be Christians. The answer for Paul was found in faith—a firm reliance on Jesus’ death, resurrection, and lordship.
In Galatians 3:3, Paul asks a bewildered questions of the Galatians. Even though their spiritual lives started by the work of the Holy Spirit, would they be perfected (or completed) by their own hard work?
The NLT phrases Paul’s question this way: After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
For Paul, trust in Jesus is the key not just to our justification but also to our continued growth, into the very image of Jesus.
You won’t be able to find the right principles or concepts to fully get you past your anger issue. You won’t be able to find the right method to keep you in a place of anxiety-free peace. You won’t create the right habit that will cure your lust.
But the Spirit can do all of these things. What the Spirit started in your life, he will complete—as you trust in Jesus.
Trust Jesus today where you need him most.
Jesus, help me to trust you where I am most broken. Complete in me by your Holy Spirit what you started in me when I was regenerated by that same Spirit.