Monday, May 7, 2012

Law of Liberty

I have been studying the book of James since the beginning of the year and digging into the challenging and straight forward little book. Just because something is concise and small certainly doesn't mean it doesn't pack a powerful punch!

This week I have been digging into the concept of the "perfect law of liberty" found in James 1:25 and 2:12. My first question was "what is the perfect law of liberty?" And my second question was "haven't we been set free from the law and following rules?"
So as always, the only way to find true answers is to dig into scripture to interpret scripture. Here is just the surface of what I am finding and what I am learning.

1) What is the "Perfect Law of Liberty?"
When looking at the original language it appears that the law of liberty is referring to the word of God as seen in its completeness from Genesis to Revelation (the law of Moses fulfilled in Christ Jesus) which brings us freedom.
This leads right into my second question and I think of John 8:31-32a (ESV)
 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus used "logos" when speaking of His word which means the Divine expression- Christ himself. So when we abide in him and are truly his disciples, we will know the truth and it will set us free. But wait...

2) Haven't we been set free from the law and following rules?
Simply the answer is yes and no! (Ha Ha Ha, simple right?) We have not been set free from any and all authority as the human heart desires. God made us so that we would always have a boss (or master as He put it). We can either have sin as master of have God as master but we are never our own master.
I have struggled with this concept because I think that the basis on the human condition is the desire to rebel and throw off all authority and be our own boss. So when you accept Christ as the new boss of your life, it contradicts this innate mar on the human heart. I don't want a boss so I have fought in my sin nature with my new spirit to find an out from this new "law of liberty". But what I find is that if I truly abide in Christ, get to know God and walk with Him in obedience, I am living in the law of liberty and it has set me free! Yes, I am choosing to do life God's way (which is really the only way that makes sense and makes it worth living) and that could be viewed as following rules but it is all about my heart. With Christ, I follow and obey because I want to and love him. Sometimes my love for him creates my want to and it is a choice rather than a feeling! This obedience from love is an act of freedom, I am not coerced or forced but actively choose of my own free will. What could be more free than that???

So perhaps we need to redefine freedom and come to a deeper understanding of the "law of liberty". I know that I have only scratched the surface and will continue to learn more!

Just remember:
 Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.
 ~ John 8:36 ESV

Friday, October 30, 2009

Freedom through grace

God is so awesome in the ways that He deepens my understanding and reveals Himself in new and exciting ways. God showed me something yesterday from a new angle and I just had to share it.
I have always thought that Paul understood grace much more than many others because of the depth of his sin from persecuting Jesus and His followers. I have always imagined Paul being deeply grieved by what he had done and his understanding of grace stemming from this. But I was studying Galatians & Acts where it tells of Paul going to Jerusalem to once and for all get a decision about whether gentiles had to convert to Judaism and be circumcised. He brought the issue before Peter and the apostles and they deliberated over whether righteousness was from faith or from something we must do. The decision was that faith alone restores you to God and that this is it in order to experience salvation.When I was studying this it occurred to me that Paul had grown up becoming the perfect Jew, following all the law, being groomed to be the best, zealously persecuting those he felt were wrong and forcefully obeying the rules. When Christ came to him and set him on a new path on the road to Damascus, he encountered God and it completely revolutionized who he was. I realized that his understanding of grace came from feeling the burden of the law ("doing & performance") being lifted from off of him. Suddenly the weight was gone and he understood Jesus saying that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.So instead of it just being sorrow and repentance for his sin (which I am sure he felt deeply) being the basis of his understanding, Paul understood grace and freedom because he personally experienced it. He no longer suffered and groaned under the law. No wonder he was so passionate about not putting the yoke of slavery on gentile believers. He knew that his own people were breaking under the burden and refused to lay that burden on others.
I am a gentile believer and I have not been put under the law but under grace. I can glimpse a bit of Paul's passion for grace and understand even more how Christ has set me free and blessed me beyond my wildest imaginations! What a thought! Praise You God for Your wondrous blessings and love! I will be meditating on this verse.
Galatians 5:1 Amplified
IN [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].

Friday, August 14, 2009

How will you respond to tough circumstances?

I read some great stuff this morning in my quiet time and wanted to share it with you.

"When you are confronted with a circumstance that challenges you, you have two choices. You can say to your soul, "Get depressed." Or you can say to your soul, "Hope in God." Place your expectations in the goodness of God." J Rothschild

A few scriptures came to mind to go with this.:

Psalm 42: 5 NASB
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.

Psalm 27:13 NIV
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Marriage and Children- a different trend

I am taking a little survey of an article that I read and I am curious what you think. If you have time, first read the article below and then answer the following questions:

1) What was your 1st reaction to the article?

2) What was the hardest thing to agree with?

3) What was the easiest thing to agree with?

4) Do you think the authors are correct?

5) What does this challenge in you?

6) Would you read the book or recommend the article to others?

Here are my answers:

1) What was your 1st reaction to the article? I was a little uncomfortable at 1st because I find myself in that category of getting married and being determined to enjoy married life but unsure about the kid question.

2) What was the hardest thing to agree with? That I have been in the wrong and have been being selfish with my life and with my time. I see myself portrayed in this article and it is a ugly picture.

3) What was the easiest thing to agree with? God is working on all of us and He can give us the love and desire for children!

4) Do you think the authors are correct? I do agree with several of their points and will have to do some serious praying and seeking God about this topic now. I do think that we can easily get off balance about it and go towards legalism too!

5) What does this challenge in you? My own selfish nature and buying the lie that I have to have it all and children are a burden rather than a gift.

6) Would you read the book or recommend the article to others? I am intrigued to know more and make look into this book. I would love to have a discussion group about it with others.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Persecution- are you ready?

I was thinking and reading about persecution this morning and am almost timid to write about it. In my mind, I think of persecution looking like other countries that would kill you for your faith or put you in prison for sharing the gospel. Somehow persecution for God has always felt distant and separate from me here in the states. In fact I am surprised when I encounter persecution here. "Isn't this America, home of freedom (freedom of speech, faith and belief)? We shouldn't have persecution here, that is one of the founding principles of our nation" or so I think.
But I was mulling over it more this morning and something occurred to me. In America, our current persecution may look a little different but we still have plenty. Satan is still trying to oust God's people from effectiveness by taking us out through marginalizing our faith in society, ousting us from places of power and influence, putting up walls of laws against us and tying us up in ourselves so that we miss the poor, weary and hurting around us.
We have some active examples of persecution right now. Take the Miss USA debacle going on with Ms. Prejean (learn more at or the hate crimes legislation that is before the senate to prosecute those who might take a stand against certain sins and moral wrongs. These are persecutions that we are confronted with here on the home front and we have the opportunity to rise to the occasion or to drop off God's band wagon.Instead of being surprised or feeling put upon and astounded that we would be persecuted, God tells us that we should feel blessed because this means we are really one of his own. Especially as God's time line advances and the world progresses towards his grand conclusion, we will only see more persecution and confrontation. We must not be surprised when we encounter push back and must not give up hope. For our faith does not rest in legislation, power, approval of others or doing something "big". It rests in God alone and he is the one accomplishing any and all things through this world and through me!
So my honest feelings are a little dread and fear, "will I stand for him or fall for the world?" I am not looking for persecution but I don't want to run from it either. I don't want to stumble into self pity when it occurs either. I want to learn to praise and look for what I can do for God in the tough times, learn to make it about him and not about me! So like Paul said...
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Worldview- live it out

I have been mulling over a powerful and convicting thought this week- judging others because of their sin and false worldviews. I am not sure I have final thoughts on it yet but I wanted to share where I am and what God is doing! After all it is all about bringing Him glory!Personally I struggle with a judgemental black and white perspective when looking out at the rest of the world. It is very hard for me to separate the sinner from the sin and I have been becoming more and more aware of this. I think I am more like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son than I ever want to be. It is hard for me to see beyond the choices that someone makes- the sin they commit.Then God brings the world crashing back in on me by showing me my own sin and judgmental heart. This time it was the passage in Matthew 18 about the unmerciful servant who was forgiven his debts and then held a fellow servant who owed little accountable to a higher standard than he personally met. I have done this very thing and it hit me hard. God forgives all of us so who am I to hold my fellow human to a level I can't reach?With all my thoughts and learning about biblical worldview over the last few years, I have learned why other worldviews don't make sense and why they lead to deception and destruction of many lives. But at the same time, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and God is drawing us to Himself. My heart and mind are being renewed and brought back to the way God created them to be and only when I finish my journey at home with Him will I be complete.So back to all the other worldviews and the people that hold them. I have to separate how I see people from the way they operate in the world. If someone has not found Christ, they are only operating in the way that they know how- themselves. If someone has found Christ, they are like me, still learning and being transformed. Suddenly, the person comes back to the forefront of my view and not the sin. I can begin to see a glimmer of how Christ looks at the world.I have to let go of the need to be right and see the fault in others and just love the person. After all the essence of a biblical worldview is seeing the world through God's perspective and that begins and ends with love. I am praying that God will grow my love for others and help me be more winsome in sharing His worldview. God brought a fantastic verse to my attention that really helps me and that is what I am memorizing for this time.
Acts 26:17-18 NIV
I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Worldview perspectives- winsome and loving reminders

I have a passion for biblical worldview and the fact that there is not an area of the human experience that God has not spoken about and provided all I need to do right in it! Much of my thoughts and studies have revolved around this so I am constantly learning more. But sometimes I can struggle with frustration at those who don't see it or just don't care. I have a hard time meeting them in love and compassion. God was reminding me about this and I read this quote in my daily devotion and I thought is was too good not to share!

"the way to genuine openness and inclusiveness lies through the narrow gate. In renouncing all for Jesus' sake, we become heirs to the entire universe. But those who deny God's reality and cling only to the visible world shut themselves up in a box with a tightly closed lid." -The Truth Project Daily Travelogue.

We have to remember that the world is lost:

Isaiah 44:20 NIV
He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"

And our response as servants of Christ should be:

2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.