Daily Devotional

Don't Put the Cart before the Horse

by Simon Whitton

I would like to learn just one thing from you:
Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law,
or by believing what you heard?
Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

Galatians 3:2-3

When you have a horse and cart, it's important you get them the right way around.  The cart cannot lead the horse.  This was Paul's concern with the Christians in Galatia.  They had the proverbial 'cart before the horse,' they put obedience to the law before faith in the Spirit.

The Galatian believers were 'saved', but then the focus in their Christian walk was to put the law first, trying to obey it as best they could.  They thought God's approval, the Spirit of God and good works would follow their attempts at obedience to the law.

The cart represents the law. It's well-made, solid, rigid, and heavy.  It's useful and has purpose.  The law is like the cart because 'it's good, but it won't get you anywhere'.  Worse than that, the law can be a 'trap' that will harness your human effort, sap your strength and be a burden all your years.  Even focusing on small matters of the law will bind you to the whole of the law.

All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written:
"Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything
written in the Book of the Law."
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because,
"The righteous will live by faith."

Galatians 3:10-11

The Lord has provided us with a majestic horse, God's Spirit, a Spirit of love and grace, alive and powerful, easily able to pull the cart, making the yoke easy and the burden light.  God wants His Spirit to go before His people, to lead them.

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
Galatians 5:18

Satan wants to keep your sin and the law right in front of you. But even God has put your sin behind Him.

you have put all my sins behind your back.
Isaiah 38:17b (NIV)

All your sin, the sin in your past, present and future, has been crucified with Christ. So put your sin and the law behind you, by faith.
God doesn't want us to be led by the law.  His desire is for His Spirit to lead us, and then the law will follow.  Believing our sins are behind us, we must now believe the Spirit is out in front. Our faith and focus must be on the Spirit and His leading; and as we follow Him, He will lead us in obedience to the perfect law, the law of Christ that expresses love towards others.

The entire law is summed up in a single command:
“Love your neighbour as yourself."

Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

When we live by faith in the Spirit, He will cause us to love our neighbours, fulfilling the law.  We will no longer be led by the law and our sinful nature; instead, we will begin to produce fruit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

Spend some time in prayer and put your sins and the law behind you.  Ask the Lord for the faith to leave them there, and to put His Spirit firmly in front of you. Pray that you will keep up with the Spirit as He leads you into a fruitful life.

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