Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Condemned by theThe Law

It’s hard to believe that more than a week has passed since my last post. It’s been a busy few days with “shows” (actually, I prefer ministry events) at a children’s camp and three VBS Family Nights. There were several life changing decisions made. Praise to God for His great love.

Foremost on my heart in recent days has been an encounter with the mother of a girl struggling with how unworthy we are of His love. I believe that this story of spiritual battle begins in the physical world of young girls turning into young women and young boys to young men—an age when they no longer want to be thought of as kids and haven’t quite made to the world of grown-ups. An age when our bodies are changing and our minds are desperately trying to keep up. An age when we struggle to break free from the cocoon of our childhood and yet childhood itself clings onto us. An age when you no longer want to be a “girl or boy” and you’re not yet a woman or man. An age when we’re trying to find out who we really are. Adolescence has to be the worst age for everybody.

To this young lady’s (that’s perhaps the best way to describe her) credit, her struggle shows that her spiritual maturity is far beyond that of most of us “older” believers. Many of us never get to the point of self examination (criticism) when it comes to how we live against the standard of the Law. Too often our comparison is how we live compared to everyone else. Unfortunately, neither of these is a good standard by which to judge ourselves. The latter allows us to compare ourselves to a standard that offers no hope and is of no eternal value. The former (the Law) is too critical and only serves to condemn us and make us feel guilty and unworthy. So where can we turn if one standard is too low and the other too high?

Perhaps the best place to begin is to use the same standard that we will be judged by when we are judged by God—and even then, we have a choice. We can choose to be judged by the Law, or we can choose to be judged through the Blood of Jesus. As Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans (chapter 7) the Law condemns. Even the great evangelist, Paul, struggled with sin. He said that he doesn’t do the things that he knows he should do and does the things that he knows he shouldn’t do. If Paul falls short of the Law and the penalty is death, then can there be hope for us?

The answer, of course, is Yes. There is hope. Paul begins chapter 8 by telling us that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk according to the Spirit. He says that the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

So…does that mean that we are free to do as we please? To live as if there is no law? Of course not. We are being made holy by the Spirit. We are to strive to be more like Jesus. Will we fail? We will have failures, but as we continue to grow, the failures will become fewer. Will we ever be perfect? Probably not in this life. Paul teaches that the Law serves to remind us of our need for a Savior—someone to deliver us from the Law. Jesus.

It will be exciting to watch this young lady grow up. I can’t help but wonder what God has planned for her that He would choose to teach her this lesson at such a young age. We can’t do this alone. We have to rely on Him. When we are weak, He is strong.

James writes that we should find joy in the struggle, for it is in the struggle that we are being made perfect (holy, like Jesus).

“…be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus of Nazareth.


No comments: