“Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you because you do what the law requires or because you hear the gospel and believe it?”
Gal 3: 5 GNB
Sometimes God seems to work in an amazingly arbitrary way. Without warning he arrives in a community and it comes alive. The worship is shot through with spontaneity. People experience many answers to their prayers. New people join the group. People volunteer to do things that help the body. And everyone gets a sense that “things are happening”. But there are many communities that just creep along in the same old way with never a surprise or a visitation from God.
The Christian communities in Galatia had experienced a visitation from God. First, Paul had come and preached the gospel, which had introduced people to Jesus Christ. Some of them had believed in Christ, repented of their previous lives, given themselves to Jesus, been baptized and received the Holy Spirit. And they had witnessed miracles of God’s grace and activity in their midst. There was no doubt that God was at work amongst them and that they were being renewed in the likeness of Christ. No doubt new people were being added to their numbers. So Paul, distressed that some had slipped back into their old ways, lived according to the law and were trying to work their way to heaven, challenged them to think and look back. Was God at work before they believed in Jesus and gave them the Holy Spirit? The answer was, “Of course not”.
Look for evidence of the power and presence of God in your Christian community. Is the worship powerful? Do new people come along and join? Do people do things spontaneously to help each other?
Lord, come and work mightily in our Christian community.