Everyone seems to be outraged by gas prices these days. Most of us are paying over $3 per gallon. That equates to approximately 2 ½ cents per ounce for the final product.
Of course, reflected in that price is the cost of pumping oil out of the ground, transporting it to a refinery (where it goes through a long process to become gasoline), and then transporting it to retailers. It’s a very involved process.
So, it might seem strange that we are upset by paying 2 ½ cents per ounce of gas when we pay almost three times as much (7 cents) per ounce of bottled water or 10 times as much for specialty coffee (25 cents per ounce).
I’m not an expert in any of these fields, but I think the technology involved in creating gasoline is a bit more advanced and costly than purifying water or grinding coffee beans.
So why do we gripe about the gas prices when, at the same time, we choose to be gouged by the coffee and water companies? It’s just not logical!
Here’s my theory: when it comes to getting what we want, we tend to throw logic out the window.
In the spiritual world, the same holds true when it comes to the desires of the flesh. Logically, we know that anger, lust, greed, and jealousy all lead to turmoil, strife, frustration, and destruction. In Galatians, Paul explains, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 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 5:19-21).
Even though we know the danger, temptation convinces us to give in to sin –even knowing the consequences. You see, sin is just not logical –especially considering the alternative! Paul continues, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
So why would we ever choose temptation to sin over the fruit of righteousness? Because our flesh makes a compelling emotional argument for our affections.
The problem is when we try to fight these affections for sin with logical reasoning for righteousness. Don’t get me wrong –logic is good, and righteous living is logical. But, when temptation is dealing with affections –we must fight fire with fire!
So how do we do that? We must increase our affection for Christ! The good news is that 1) Christ is greater than sin. Therefore, He offers more joy than sin. 2) Christ has conquered sin. Therefore, our affections have a logical basis for desiring Him more than sin.
That’s why Paul continues in Galatians 5 by stating, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
So how do we continue to cultivate those affections for Christ? Surely you have experienced, as have I, the frustration of falling back into the same sins time after time. What does Paul recommend for our continual affection problem?
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
Just like in earthly human relationships, our relationship with God is cultivated by spending time in communion with Him. Of course, daily study, meditation, and prayer centered on God’s Word is key.
But Paul takes it one step further. He says to “keep in step” with the Spirit. This wording seems to indicate and continual state of communion in which we fellowship with the Spirit everywhere we go. In this way, when temptation strikes, we don’t leave God behind at our morning “quiet time,” but instead, we remain in His presence continually. And, when temptation comes, instead of welcoming it, we see it as an interruption of our true affection: Christ!
Now that ‘s worth considering over a cup of coffee –no matter how much it cost!