Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The Letter of the Law vrs the Spirit of the Law
I am reading through Beth Moore's Bible Study Breaking Free with a group of women. Last week I was challenged with thoughts on Legalistic attitudes/behaviours. It is somewhat easy to hang your faith on the law. What does the Bible say - what should I do? While this is important and we should be reading our Bible to correctly divide the truth it is not the only substance of our faith. It can be easy to 'follow the law' but not have a firm foundational faith that is alive, on fire and working in our hearts. Legalism abounds when we take the law and judge our works upon it, allowing pride to take root and grow like an insidious weed. Like theour faith can be in trouble when we use the law to show how 'good' we are at outwardly keeping it and even adding to it our *own* long list of good deeds, activities and acts of service. In so doing, we have made an idol of the law rather then allowing God to build upon the spirit of the law. What is the spirit of the law? Well, our chief corner stone is Jesus, and He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He calls us to personal intimacy and to live of life of obedience to Him. This doesn't just mean we follow a set of rules, it means a broken and contrite heart. It means times of testing and refinement, when God roots out sin in our life, chastens us and brings us to a deeper understanding that we need Him to make us clean. It means understanding and accepting that we keep the law in our hearts when we are broken before Him, acknowledging that we need our creator to make us whole. The race is not for the weary, and to be honest I find it a struggle and there are days when I long for the Lord to come back so I don't struggle with my sin and baggage. But I realise more and more that this is where the Lord wants me - to be leaning on His strength so He can be made perfect in my weakness. There are days that I fail miserably, allowing my thoughts, tongue or an attitude of judgement to take root. And the thing is - I know it when it is happening. I ignore the Holy Spirit's strict warnings to flee from sin, ignore the promise that He will not suffer me to tempted beyond what I am able, ignoring the promise that He will always provide me a way out of my sin. He chastens because He loves me, his daughter, and I am called according to His purpose. There are many promises He gives that, I, in my arrogance, choose not to embrace, rather taking solace in my 'deeds' (the outward appearance of the law). What a lie to hold on to! Like Paul I acknowledge the struggle - I do not do what I know I should and do what I do not want to do! Yet, when I do what He wants me to do, not only because I know it is right, but because my heart is broken - Jesus restores and continues to make me whole. There is great peace in this, even while He chastens, the peace is there for me to embrace. His word is there for me to count on. His blood there to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. The race is hard, granted, painful but it is the heritage my Saviour has given me and as difficult as it is, as many times as I will fail - I choose to embrace this heritage, accepting that I have to live in the moments He gives me each day and thanking Him that when I fail in the moments, His mercy and grace for the next moment is enough.
Posted by Cindy at 1:51 PM