God does not send us into the dangerous and exacting life of faith because we are qualified; He chooses in order to qualify us for what he wants us to be or do." Eugene Peterson
So many things are roaming around in this noodle of mine. First of all, I have the need to scream -- LIBERTY!
I know that after sending my nephew off to Iraq one more time I am more aware than ever of our Liberty here in the U.S. - we are so willing to fight for it in the political arena, in the social arena -- But, what about Liberty in our Christian Communities?
We are not held under law. This is incredible news. I recently sat in a wonderfully filled church - a church that knows and praises God. This church, like my own home church, is well known for its grace theology. The pastor is world renowned and one of those speakers that every speech teacher could use as an example of a compelling, enjoyable orator. This place is fantastic. The love is so apparent. The sermon was taken from Galatians where Paul is questioning why the church has gone back to legalism. The pastor quickly makes it clear that we must not do that in our churches today, in our relationships today. We are not called to sit in judgment on others and determine what they need to do or not do. He used a little story to get the idea across. It struck me because it was a true story about a missionary. It appears that the missionary and his family had come home from the field due to some really sad interrelationship problems on the mission team. The family had always loved peanut butter and they had a friend that knew this from the states. The friend and supporter determined to send the family peanut butter monthly from the states as an encouragement to them. The family used the peanut butter on special occasions and enjoyed it. Well, news got out amongst the other missionaries and it was determined that this couple was not following God because they had peanut butter from America. It was determined that if they did not give up the right to receiving the peanut butter they would be unable to be received as spiritually mature and there were horrible problems that began to arise. The couple, not seeing anything in the word against eating peanut butter continued, but began to hide the fact. Finally, under so much duress the couple packed their family up and returned home. They were unable to fight for the right to liberty in their own home. Funny story, huh? Funny as long as it is not wine, or T.V. or movies, or dancing. or smoking tobacco, or any other of our own pet peeves. Not those things that are specifically mentioned in the bible - those things that we have determined to legalize in our churches.
Now, why do I bring this up? Well, just a few Sundays ago, my own pastor brought up the question of liberty in the church (better known as Grace). His point was also interesting. He said that he has always been a teacher of Grace. For the last 25 years his message has been the same. Years ago, he was received with one of two responses...
first - Oh my goodness, do you mean that God accepts me just the way I am, loves me, and desires to know me one on one? How can I please such a wonderful, loving God, all I want to do is please Him. -- This brought about an act of loving service.
second - Those that were furious about the idea had a tendency to be angry because they were held under the law and could not get past the idea that we as saints are completely covered by Grace and need only to accept Him and He will change us from the inside out. These people did not receive the information with joy. But today, he said that when people hear this information about Grace, their response is, "Oh, that's nice"; or, simply a shrug and a non-caring attitude. Why? He contends that it is because we do not understand who God is. How could we be concerned about being cleansed, overjoyed at the thought of being considered by God as holy, completely clean, when we don't even get that we are dirty?
Holy, God is Holy!
Once again I stop in amazement at the reality that God is God – we are not. God is graciously offering us an opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him. Finding out that He is who He says He is. This is the most exhilarating study in life.
Posted by Robyn Rochelle E. at Monday, July 11, 2005
A little about me
I am in the world almost every day. Okay, daily.