"Knowing the Good Life and Leading It"
July 14, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25
Years ago the “Kansas City (Missouri) Star” stated editorially that for many children “the sense of morality is a combination of ‘Dallas’ [a long-running TV program] and the pop music chart.” Neither the named television program nor the popular songs set high moral standards. The emphasis is on greed, lust, sex, and all the other sins that have plagued the human race through the ages, as Saint Paul mentions them in his epistles. They are the fruit of the flesh.
We have, thank God, a much higher moral standard set in the Ten Commandments. This standard is not a kind of a golden rule which people might attain by their natural powers. It is absolute; it demands perfection. To reach the high level of Christian morality, we need the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. Through the Gospel and the sacraments the Spirit first plants the tree. For without the tree no fruit is forthcoming. This tree is the faith He creates in us – faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose redeeming merit is credited to our account. This faith is more than the acceptance of a set of facts, although right knowledge is important. You can’t believe unless you know what to believe. What is involved above all is a change of heart, a new spiritual birth, a new outlook on life, full trust in God. Faith makes a person a new creation in Christ.
The Holy Spirit, having kindled faith, doesn’t then walk away, as a carpenter does when he has finished building a house. The Spirit continues to enlighten, nourish, sanctify, and keep us in the faith through the Gospel. He causes the faith to go beyond the ABCs; He makes it grow farther and farther into the alphabet of Christianity. The XYZ of perfection is attained only in heaven.
It helps children live moral lives if they have the good example of Christian parents to follow. So it is in our Christian growth. The heavenly Father sets us the perfect example. The Triune God is active here. The Father is our example, the Son is the enabler, in that He took away our sins, and the Holy Spirit leads us to a new life in Christ.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit into my heart through Your Word, and make me more and more like the Father in heaven. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)