There’s an incredible contrast in this chapter between moralism and Gospel Christianity, between religious righteousness and relationship with God, between successful living and Spirit living.

Most of our New Year’s resolutions involve us doing better at something – us trying harder and getting closer to perfection. Be careful! The Pharisees and theologians of Jesus’ day were the epitome of success. Outwardly they had their act together. Everyone envied them. Jesus blasted them.

Jesus doesn’t want “holier than thou” followers. He wants them to have his Holy Spirit. He’s the light that completely lights up our inner lives and shines for others. He’s the guest who completely fills the house leaving no room for other idols and evil spirits. He’s the power enabling us to gather other people into God’s kingdom. He’s the good gift from God.

The key to having him? Audacious faith that God is actually our father. The goal of prayer and life is not to have God finally accept us as his children. True prayer exploits this fact: HE IS OUR FATHER. True living starts with asking not earning.

My New Year’s resolution? Bleed Dad of all he’s worth. Take full advantage of this relationship he has established. For he gives the Spirit without limit. Only then will I act as his true son.