To Do or Not To Do?

“You are NOT to do whatever you want” (Gal. 5:17).

To Do or Not To Do? “Do whatever you want.” Those words usually come after you have asked someone’s advice or input and they know you aren’t going to follow it. Or maybe your spouse says, “I would rather … but do whatever you want.” I would guess that most of the time those words mean the exact opposite; that person truly thinks you are making the wrong choice. Our culture, however, has taken those words and run with them.

We live in a time of “Do whatever you want.” Advertising, sitcoms, movies, music, and even our politicians tell us that our happiness comes from buying, listening to, watching, and doing what we want. Impulse buys come from “doing whatever you want.” Eating that second serving, even though you are already full, comes from “doing whatever you want.” Listening to music that is offensive or hurtful to those around you comes from “doing whatever you want.” Opening our mouths and saying hurtful things happens because we decided to “do whatever you want.” Are you seeing a trend here?

Very little that is fulfilling, enriching, and gratifying to God comes from making that decision to “do whatever you want.” Paul knew this, and that is why he admonished the Galatians, “You are not to do whatever you want” (Gal. 5:17). Paul wasn’t telling them that they couldn’t have a rich, fulfilling life. He was telling them that if they let their sinful human nature, their flesh, make their decisions then they were not following the promptings of the Spirit.

Jesus gave us the Spirit to be our guide. I’m not saying you should ask the Holy Spirit if you should have that second helping of pasta, but if you consistently seek the Spirit’s input into your life then the carnal impulses will gradually decrease. We cannot allow our sinful nature to take control. Those decisions lead to adultery, fighting, harming others, harming ourselves, and addictions.

Following the promptings of the Spirit leads to love, joy, goodness, gentleness, moderation, and community. That, my friend, is what our spiritual journey is about. We must open ourselves to Jesus so He can change us from the inside out, because we can’t change without His help! So when you step out of bed tomorrow morning, start off by saying, “Today, Jesus, I want to do what You want!”

Rich Wilkerson