“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)
Paul asks this of the Christians in Galatia. His letter to them is a clarion call continuing on in our first love.
Whenever someone accepts Jesus as Savior, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10) All of Heaven rejoices and I think that’s part of what we feel. It’s like a permanent honeymoon. People talk of the colors of the spectrum holding a deeper hue. They actually hear the birds singing in the branches for once. There’s something beautiful in the air that can only be explained as the personal attention of the Holy Spirit. It’s kind of like when you’re eating and you step outside for a moment and instantly the food in your mouth tastes better–fuller. Delicious!
“O taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
But it would seem that this feeling of freshness and newness was not designed to last. Personally, I think it’s supposed to. I mean, you’d be tempeted to think the former was so as many Christians’ enthusiasm (literally: filled with God) wanes and ebbs and then is gone like a wisp of smoke. The practicalities of life begin to weigh in and before you know it, we’re (almost) just as miserable as before we accepted the Lord. “My brethren (sisters too!), these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:10) I know I’m guilty of this.
The word quondam means “former”. With a connotation of “but no longer”. I think this is one of the main conundrums in modern-day Christianity. Christians who experience the high of the mountain-top often forget about the valley from which they came and while this analogy is true, there is a one-hundred-eighty degree heart change that has taken place that they may forgot about upon coming back down from the mountain. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12) We truly are a “new creation” as Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians (5:17).
If we think that we can now take the reins and do it all for ourselves after receiving the miracle of rebirth, we are sadly mistaken. There is joy and peace and sustenance when we are led of God’s Spirit through the mundane issues of our day. Love-based gratitude and worship are the antidote to pride and self-satisfaction. Two things which in turn give rise to complacency and apathy.
Paul asks “who did hinder you?” Hmm. Who could it be? In the next verse, he clarifies it with “This persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth you.” (Galatians 5:8) So it’s not God. He’s here to help. Literally here by the Holy Spirit. He’s here to open up the vistas of beauty that surround us every moment. And beyond a certain point, it’s not the devil. John said “for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) Which He did (see Colossians 2:15). Again (I tap my chin) who could it be?
It’s us. We can do better than this.