“16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:16-21)
You can’t drop a frog into boiling water without it trying, with all its might, to jump out. But if you put it in the pan with cold water, you can boil it without it trying to escape. I’ve never had the desire to boil a frog, but it does make sense. The frog, with the gradual increase in temperature, doesn’t feel the danger it’s in until it’s too late. It’s boiled, and probably not suitable for eating, either.
There’s an interesting parallel to the frog in the story dealing with our life and walk with Christ. The list of sins we read above are like the boiling water, but rather than us boiling, we end up fettered to our sin, and no longer free in Christ. We find something interesting in the list, written as ‘fits of anger,’ ‘dissensions,’ and ‘divisions.’ We’re bound to run across one of these in our daily lives, perhaps prompted by someone cutting us off during our drive to work, or stepping in front of us at the grocery. Either way, we find we’re wearing the same old fetters like we were before Christ offered us freedom.
There’s no doubt we’re less than perfect, and some of these things are going to happen. But, rather than walking with Jesus wearing these binding freedom-stealing fetters, we can begin to notice what’s holding us back and seek the face of Jesus. Freedom is found in confessing them before we see the ground rushing up at us. Rather than showing that person on the drive to work that you think they’re number one, or demonstrating the height to which that vein on your forehead will rise, lift up a prayer for them. And, as you finish up reading this short note, perhaps an ‘enemy’ or two of yours that may have done something to make you mad comes to mind. Take a moment and lift them up to Jesus in a prayer of thankfulness and confess your sin to him. Then go on and continue your spiritual walk with Jesus fetter-free!
By Rich Obrecht