Thursday, June 28, 2012
Fear of God...
I want to talk about freedom tonight.
Being a Christian, I dwell a lot on this concept. It's really central to the message of the gospel, if you think about it. What was Jesus' sole mission? To free us from ourselves. To bring peace with God. To give us the permission to be called his children. That kind of thing.
So, naturally, it disturbs me when I see my friends forget this.
See, I believe, when you accept Jesus you're freed from yourself. The things you've been enslaved to, the things you've felt shame over. You're free. I've experienced this personally, and seen it in the lives of professing Christians over the years.
But there are a handful of friends of mine who, from what I see, still find themselves slaves to themselves. Now, by no means is a life in Christ perfect here on earth. We all have bad days, and I completely understand that, but these friends of mine seem to have a cloud of fear over their lives.
They try to live the best life they can and then, when they trip up (as we all do) I see it bring about a depression, and stress upon them that's awfully painful to watch. They carry this shortcoming, until they're weighed down, and can't move forward anymore. After awhile they recover, but jump out of their spiritual skin every time something remotely challenging comes their way next.
This isn't living in freedom.
Living in fear, and living in sadness, isn't the life Jesus offers us.
I recently read the book of Galatians, and the entire book is basically the apostle Paul telling those in the Galatian church, that there is absolutely nothing they can do, short of fulfilling every commandment in Jewish law to earn God's favor. He goes on to say that if we try to live governed by law (aka "do this", "don't do that"), that we are separating ourselves from the work Jesus himself did.
That by trying so hard to be so good, is actually nullifying the work Jesus has already done.
Add that to the fact, that living according to the Jewish law, is the equivalent of failing daily. Because we aren't perfect. We'll never, ever, be perfect.
Sadly, the Pharisees of Jesus' days aren't the only one enslaved to the law.
Many Christian people our age, well intentioned though they may be, are still slaves to a legalistic code of conduct.
You know the ones I'm talking about:
Don't have sex before marriage
Don't hug your friend of the opposite sex too long
All these things and more. They live in fear of "stumbling" and being cut off from their "walk" with Christ. As if, when they stumble God is gunna lay the smack down on them.They're already more cut off than they may know. Is this is not unlike the Jewish faith in Jesus' day?
I don't believe that a Christian life is a life of fear. Is it a lifetime of screw ups? Of course!
Jesus loved the screw ups. God loves the screw ups.
Sometimes, you have to be at peace with your imperfections, your shortcomings and failures. Sometimes you need to be like: "Yeah, I fucked up, but Christ caught me as I fell. Just like he did the time before this, and just like he will the time after."
When you surrender control completely, and stop grieving the past, you can full embrace the bright future God has for you.
I want freedom for my friends. I want them to live without constantly battling every day to just live.
I've been there. I know what it's like to struggle just to get through the day. It isn't worth it.
Leave the sins to Jesus. Start living in the freedom he offers!