SO WHAT ABOUT OUR OBEDIENCE?
The focus on personal obedience as the primary goal of the believer seems a noble theme and is taught and touted as the hallmark of the truly devoted disciple. Unfortunately it has also led to much confusion as a measuring rod of our level of spirituality.
The essence of the law which is the perfect standard for measuring our obedience is found in the statement: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5 (NKJV)
No one has ever achieved this with the exception of Jesus. Anyone who is honest would have to admit this and yet we are told that never the less we must strive to reach this impossible goal.
Whenever the point of reference becomes our performance we set ourselves up for failure.
This leaves us either in a state of perpetual failure which leads to shame, guilt, remorse and self-condemnation or even worse into a state of self-deception and pride where we grade ourselves on a curve in comparison to others less dedicated and delude ourselves into thinking we are succeeding.
“Law keeping” is in our DNA passed down from Adam who in an attempt to “be like God” ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; a picture of partaking of the law and self-effort to achieve something that he already possessed; being like God having been created in the image of God.
However, for those in Christ, we now have A NEW DNA; the new creation by the new birth of the Spirit; the old is gone and the new has come. We are God’s seed born by the Spirit. This new identity is ours, by faith in what Jesus accomplished through His work on the cross.
I John 3: 9-10 (AMP)
“No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.10 By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness [who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action] is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow believer in Christ).”
Only through divine revelation of the grace of God; unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor based on the work of another who alone is worthy and capable of keeping the demands of a Holy, Righteous God, can we be set free from this cycle of perpetually falling short in our self-efforts resulting in self-condemnation or self-deception in thinking we are achieving personal holiness by our own efforts.
Paul called it as he saw it in Galatians where he called it “another gospel.” He went on to say that anyone preaching another gospel would be under a curse of judgment and condemnation.
Some translations read “under a curse” or some even say “may he be eternally condemned “. Regardless, the consequences are destructive and to be avoided.
I know from personal experience the effects of trying to live in this way and believe me, it was a curse. It leaves you always wondering where you stand with God, in a perpetual state of confusion about your level of “obedience” and ability to please God. It’s like living on a treadmill of always wondering if you’re good enough, praying enough, serving enough, or even feeling “unworthy” enough, to deserve His blessings. Living as if our relationship with God and the quality of it depends entirely on what we do.
Swirling in a mixture of law (man centered works) and grace will only leave you sick, depressed, confused, under condemnation when you fail, and eventually to destruction and even death or even worse into prideful self-deception as the Pharisees skilled in comparing themselves with others who bent the law to fit their lifestyle.
These are the cold, hard facts of the matter and unfortunately this is where most Christians have been living for too long and even worse, pulling others in with them into the confusion that this mixture brings.
Nowhere in Paul’s writings are more harsh words found than in Galatians and when examined in context, the “other gospel” he details and severely warns us to avoid is the mixing of law (man’s efforts) and grace (God’s provision). For each nullify the other and stand opposed to each other.
Hear what he says about this in his own words;
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
This unfortunately is a commentary on the church today. We have no problem with the fact that we are saved by grace through faith alone but once we’re saved we are put back under the law to maintain it and to “serve” God by our “obedience”. Perhaps this is an insight into why we don’t see the miracles today as in the days of the apostles where they understood it’s all by grace through faith in what they heard and believed was accomplished by the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Healing, forgiveness, power for living, and the miracle gifts all flow from His work on the cross and His resurrection power working through us by His Spirit.
Once again, everything within our natural man down to our DNA fights against the notion of dependence on someone else to establish our standing with God. Even after we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, our flesh wars against the Spirit and our pride and others can serve to promote this self-reliance by teaching that puts the emphasis back on us and our performance rather than on our total absolute dependence upon the life of the Spirit to live His life through us.
Only Christ can live the Christian life.
Until we understand, that we have been crucified with Christ and “It is no long I who live but Christ lives in me,” all our efforts to try to get ourselves and others to “live right” and “be holy” and “die to self,” putting the focus back on ourselves to perform, are doomed to fail.
“For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.”
Paul cuts no slack to those trying to justify themselves by their own efforts.
“You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.’
This falling from grace has been misinterpreted to mean losing one’s salvation but within the context of even the same sentence much less the chapter this is a reference to those trying to keep the law having fallen from the higher place of grace, unmerited favor to a lower place of self-effort and law keeping.
So what exactly is grace?
“What is the grace of God? Simply put, the grace of God is God blessing, healing, delivering and prospering you because of Jesus. The grace of God is His unearned, unmerited and undeserved favor toward you simply because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross.
Because God’s grace is based on Jesus’ work and not yours, the only way you fall from this grace is by believing that you can earn, merit and deserve it through your obedience and good works.
For example, you fall from grace when you say, ‘God has to answer my prayer because I have prayed long enough.’ You also fall from grace when you think that because you are serving in church or you have kicked a bad habit, God is pleased with you and He has to bless you.
When you think that it is by your efforts and obedience that you receive God’s blessings, you become like the Pharisees. They believed that their law-keeping justified them and ensured that God would bless them. But the truth is that when you believe like them, ‚”you have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace‚”. This means that you are cut off from Christ, who is your salvation, Redeemer, healer and provider. Christ has become of no effect to you!
My friend, surely you would want Christ to be of effect to you. People to whom Christ is of effect receive from Him the miracle they need. When He is of effect to them, He is their healer and they get healed. He is their wisdom and they are wise before man. He is their good success and they experience good success in all that they do.
Beloved, for Christ to always be of effect to you and to never nullify the grace of God operating in your life, just remember and believe that it is because of Christ and His finished work – His blood, His stripes, His death, His obedience – that you are justified, healed, prosperous and blessed!” (Pastor Joseph Prince)
So what purpose does the law serve?
There’s only one; to show us our lack and need for God’s mercy and grace. Once we know this, we can break free from its impossible demands and learn to live in the new way of the Spirit.
Hear what Paul says about this in Galatians 3 and Romans 3
“Why then was the law [given]? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come. [The law] was put into effect through angels by means of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not for just one person, but God is one. 21 Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law. 22 But the Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin’s power, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,
Romans 3:19-20 NIV84
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”
As Pastor Joseph Prince illustrates, “the law is like a mirror that shows us our flaws and failings but you don’t try to clean your face with a mirror. It has no power to produce the righteousness it perfectly demands.”
Much confusion about our obedience has occurred for the past two thousand years from not rightly dividing the Word of God between the Old Covenant of the Law and the New Covenant of Grace. The point of division is actually the point that separates all of time; the coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world.
Paul clarifies this point here in Galatians:
Galatians 4:4-5 HCSB
“When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
This divides all of time at the defining point of the purpose of His coming; His death on a cross, and His burial and resurrection.
We have been given His unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor from God who is no longer angry with us and no longer is measuring us by our performance in order to bless us but rather because of the perfect completed work of Jesus on the cross for us, we can now receive the fullness of His blessing. How? By believing the truth that He no longer holds our sins against us having fully punished them in Jesus when he poured out His righteous indignation, wrath and judgment completely on Jesus until Jesus declared, “IT IS FINISHED!” Based on this statement, from the moment Jesus shouted these words, our sins and obedience keeping was no longer an issue between us and God.
Therefore He makes the declaration that forever splits time when He says “THEIR SINS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE!”
Hebrews 8:12 KJV
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
This verse use to confuse me. How is it possible for God to forget anything until I understood that He did remember them all, and accounted for them all, at the cross, when they were punished and atoned for in the body of Jesus.
All of His righteous anger and wrath was satisfied there against all of my sins and they were completely wiped out by the blood of Jesus sacrificed on my behalf. The complete debt owed to God for all of our sins was cancelled; paid in full.
If God were to remember them or hold us accountable for them, it would be an injustice on His part and a denial of the heavy payment made by His son’s death in our place.
The verification of this transaction being completed and finished was the resurrection of Jesus.
Only in the absolute removal of all our sins could He have been raised. This is the proof that the full and complete penalty and payment was made for all our sins, once for all.
In fact, the blood of Jesus, with immeasurable worth and infinite value was an “overpayment” for all of our sins so that God received more than what was due to cover the penalty of all of our sins; past, present and future against Him.
His righteous blood of infinite worth replaced my sinful blood required by God’s righteous justice. This was an overpayment of infinite magnitude and an exchange of eternal proportions; my unrighteousness for His righteousness. What a deal!
Obviously, for us, all of our sins were in the future when he declared, “It is finished” so they were all paid for at that time and not only forgiven but forgotten. If any remain that need to be “confessed” before being forgiven, then none of them were paid for because they were all in the future.
If any effort on our part is required to obtain forgiveness other than by believing in His finished work on the cross, then it is by our works rather than grace and Christ died in vain.
They were removed from existence at that point in the mind of God and it became for God a permanent loss of the memory of them having been fully satisfied with the overpayment of His Son’s own blood.
For the believer, sin is no longer an issue between us and God.
2 Corinthians 5:18
“Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.”
Only when we grasp this truth and fully embrace it, by grace, through faith, by revelation, will its transforming power be released to set us free from the trap of working to please God and the cycle of condemnation when we fail or fall short. The freedom this brings will then be something we are compelled to share with others; the good news that because of Jesus, for those who believe in Him;
God is not angry with us anymore and never will be again.
The focus is no longer on us and how much we love God but understanding His amazing, Eternal, Infinite, love for us.
Focusing on Jesus and His love for us is what changes us.
When we realize we are already accepted in the Beloved, by what He alone did, we will be free to live in the new way of the Spirit.
Ephesians 1 (NKJV)
3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4” just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will,6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.”
God the Father can now only see His resurrected Son next to Him on His Eternal Throne and He only sees His glorified wounds and He sees us as the righteousness of God in Christ.
He sees you and me in Christ now as Holy and righteous forevermore.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
God the Father has a new way of seeing us through Jesus where we no longer must attempt the impossible work of obedience by our efforts to please a Holy, Perfect, Righteous God, but where He sees us already holy, perfect, righteous and acceptable in His sight. All this was accomplished for us by the finished work of Jesus on our behalf for all who trust in Him alone for their complete salvation, sanctification, and transformation into His image by His grace alone. When we get a hold of this or when it gets a hold of us, we will be transformed and sin will not have dominion over us and we will reign in life.
From the beginning God’s basis for dealing with us has been by grace alone; unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor displaying His heart of love.
The single act of disobedience by our original parents, Adam and Eve, was enough rebellion and violation of God’s revealed will for their lives to be condemned and destroyed but for the grace of God. Much less the evil contained in a single hour of any given day since then could have justified the annihilation of the human race, but for the grace of God.
What did Adam and Eve do to deserve the garden of paradise where their every need and desire was met? It was all from the beginning God giving us what we did not deserve and holding back mercifully in not giving us what we did deserve in our rebellion against him.
Ultimately, the price had to be paid to satisfy the righteousness of a Holy God. Only the righteous, holy, pure, blood of His only begotten Son could pay such a price.
As it says in Romans 3:21-26 NIV84
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
By faith, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I must see myself now as the righteousness of God in Christ, not by law keeping and self-effort but through faith in His blood alone. The more I see this by faith and declare it, for “faith speaks,” the more I will experience His power to reign in life.
The obedience of Christ is the source of our acceptance before God and what we are to focus on as opposed to looking to ourselves and our obedience.
“The devil is not called the “accuser of our brethren” for nothing (Revelation 12:10). When you’ve done wrong, he will remind you of it day and night. Even when you’ve done right, he will tell you that it wasn’t good enough. The enemy just loves to bring up your failures, to put a spotlight on how your behavior has disqualified you from God’s acceptance, love and blessings. He loves to heap condemnation upon you and give you a sense of guilt and distance from God. He knows that the more condemnation and guilt you experience, the more likely you are to feel alienated from God and to live life defeated. Beloved, the only way out of this vicious circle of defeat is to put the spotlight on the finished work of Jesus. Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ at the cross. Through His perfect obedience and death at the cross, He has taken away your condemnation and qualified you to receive God’s acceptance, love and blessings forevermore!” (Pastor Joseph Prince)
The battle is not to look to my obedience but rather to take every thought into captivity to the “obedience of Christ”.
The more I see Jesus and His perfect completed work in my place, the more a life of effortless obedience will flow by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, what about our obedience?
The Bible clearly says we must obey God. The followers of Jesus asked Him a similar question;
“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God; that you believe in Him whom He sent.”30
Jesus made it clear that our faith in Him is “the work” which is really not work. In fact even our ability to believe in Him is actually a gift we receive from Him.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
From beginning to end and all the in between, it is all by God, from God, and for God that we have been brought into relationship with God; all by His divine initiative towards us, undeserving as we are, so that He alone gets all the glory for His work for us and what He alone can accomplish through us.
So, now that we are saved by grace through the gift of faith what about the good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them? There is but only one way. It is the new way of the life of the Spirit. It is His life lived out in us by His indwelling Holy Spirit.
We can only enter this life by faith which is another way of saying, in absolute total dependence upon Him; fixing our eyes, our thoughts, and our complete attention on Him. The more I see Him and His grace –the more He sees and responds to my faith. The more He sees my faith- the more of His grace flows into my life; which is the source of power for living for Him.
Even focusing on “my faith” can become a trap of self-effort and works; trying to determine how much faith I have or berating myself or others for lacking it. It’s the object of my faith that matters. So, I need to have faith in His faith which is total, complete, and unlimited. I receive all the benefits of His faith working on my behalf when I look to Him and see His grace; His unearned, unmerited, undeserved favor.
Our good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do as His “workmanship” flow effortlessly out of our gratitude and appreciation for all that He did for us on the cross. And by His grace, He gives us the power and enabling to do whatever He has for us to do. It is in fact, Him living through us by His Spirit that accomplishes the work so that He alone gets all the glory and credit for what He accomplishes in and through us. This is the new way of living by the Spirit.
We need a “mind transformation”. For too long we have heard and believed the subtle lie that our personal “obedience” is what is to be our focus. In other words, once we’re saved by grace alone then it is up to us to work out our obedience in serving and pleasing Him by our good works and self-efforts.
It sounds good especially to our flawed flesh but it is a destructive lie from the pit of hell that derails us from experiencing the new way of the life of the Spirit. Anytime we mix our works with His grace we nullify the power of His Holy Spirit to assist us for the Holy Spirit can only work with the truth. At the point of departure from absolute, total dependence and reliance upon the Holy Spirit and His grace we forfeit His support and power and we are literally on our own until we leave the lie of our self- efforts and surrender to His life in us by the Spirit.
We need to get reprogramed in our thinking and believing and look only to Jesus and what he accomplished for us, by His grace alone. As we shift our focus from ourselves to Christ we will experience the transformation into His image; from glory to glory by the Spirit.
But first we need to grow up in our understanding of the basics of God’s revelation.
As the writer of Hebrews says
“Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant.
So many of us have missed the importance of being grounded in this basic teaching and have dismissed it as being too basic. Our righteousness is a gift from beginning to end. We cannot obtain or maintain it by any of our own efforts. It was given to us at a great price by the blood of Jesus, and it can only become a reality in our lives by faith in His finished work; not by our works.
We need to major on God’s revelation, again; of His gift of righteousness whereby we are now the righteousness of God in Christ. This is based on God’s declaration that He now sees us in right standing with Him, with no condemnation, the penalty fully paid by His Son, so we can enjoy His favor and blessings, not because we deserve them or have earned them by our “obedience” but because the price was paid for us; they are now ours by inheritance, as the blood bought children of God.
The Holy Spirit can only work with the Truth. When we believe right the result will be that we will live right. May we get this and stop cooperating with the “accuser of the brethren” by accusing our brethren and ourselves. When we get the focus off of our performance and by faith receive the gift of “No condemnation”, we will live in freedom, peace and joy and we will reign in life.
Holiness and obedience will flow in our life by the power of the Holy Spirit, but not if we think that it depends on us.
All of our efforts to “be obedient” by self-effort and putting ourselves and others back under the law by the use of will power, fear, guilt, shame, condemnation and rejection will have only temporary results at best and typically results in more failure and frustration, disappointment, disillusionment, and discouragement and even rebellion. When you realize you just can’t stop yourself from doing what you don’t want to do, inevitably you just give up on trying and settle for living in defeat or in denial.
Paul pointed out this cycle of failure in depending on self-imposed restrictions in Colossians when he said;
“Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”22 which all concern things which perish with the using— according to the commandments and doctrines of men?23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” Colossians 2
Only a clear revelation of our righteous standing with God by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, will we be empowered by the Holy Spirit for living a life of genuine obedience and holy living. And when we fail or fall short, we can be restored by knowing and declaring that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1,2
Only when we come into agreement, by faith, with the Truth of His grace, completely, without the mixture of the law (our efforts), can the Holy Spirit help us in our weaknesses and release power for us to live in obedience resulting in us reigning in life. It comes down to believing the truth about who we are in Christ and gaining access to His life of rest and peace in the Spirit by laying aside dependence on our own efforts to perform and live by the flesh, self –effort under the law. The new way of the life of the Spirit is lived by faith in the completed work of Jesus on our behalf, with nothing added on our part.
Our obedience is to hold fast to His Truth by faith that we are the righteousness of God in Christ based on HIS OBEDIENCE, what He did for us on the cross, and the utter rejection of the lie that we can conform ourselves to His image by our efforts. Anything else is to reject, nullify and insult the completed, finished work of Jesus on the cross.
Having faith in His Obedience is the work of our obedience that will result in His transforming power to be displayed in and through us from the inward working of His grace by His Spirit.
Holiness can only be produced by the Holy Spirit. If we will listen, He will speak and empower us to do what only He can do in and through us.
And He declares us righteous, holy, and acceptable before God. His responsibility is to convict us of one thing: Our righteousness. He no longer “convicts” the believer of sin, rather when we fail, He is there to restore us and encourage us by reminding us of our true identity in Christ as the righteousness of God.
“When he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
He convicts unbelievers of the sin of unbelief in Jesus, convicts believers regarding our righteousness, and convicts the devil of his judgment and condemnation.
Our obedience flows as the fruit of His work of grace in us by His Spirit.
I would like to conclude by allowing these last three scriptures to answer the question, without further commentary, as to the “how-to” of our obedience. I hope that if you have read this far that as you ask Holy Spirit for His revelation that you may be blessed in receiving it and will be encouraged.
Romans 7:6 AMP
“But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].”
Galatians 5:16-18 AMP
“But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]”
Hebrews 9:1-2 (HCSB)
“Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”