Along the freeway there is a sign posted reminding me that there is a lawful limit to how fast I should drive. As a general rule, you are never “to lead or impede the flow of traffic.” However, “going with the flow” around here can result in a speeding ticket. The limit is set to maximize gas savings and to impose safe traveling speeds for myself and others. It is too bad the sign does not have the power to change my speed; it is more often a reminder of the fact that I am breaking the law. A greater power is needed to help regulate the weight of my foot on the gas pedal.
Paul spent a lot of time trying to explain the relationship between the Law and the Spirit. The Law describes the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, speeding and not speeding, life and death. It prescribes ways to live righteously before God. It details consequences for sin, but it is powerless to bring change. The Law cannot give life.
“But what the Law was powerless to do…” Jesus did for us through His death and resurrection—and imparting to us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in me does naturally what does not come naturally to my broken nature. Living within limits can be done by discipline, or by desire. One uses my strength, the other, the strength of the Holy Spirit. One will faint along the road, striving for perfection; the other does effortlessly from the core of its nature.
Where are you struggling with rightous limits in your own strength? Where do you need to yield to the Spirit’s help, asking Him to give you the ability to live well?