For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
Read: Genesis 32:1-35:27
Relate: I tend to have this irresistible urge to make a lot of laws for myself. I’ll read about praying Hyde and decide I need to get back to praying for three hours a day, every day. Way back when I was actually doing this for close to a year. I was miserable. I also made a commitment around the same time to read through the Bible three times a year. I’ll find myself falling behind and then I just end up giving up for a while. So eventually I’ll end up taking a weekend to try and push my way through all of Leviticus and Numbers. I am miserable. (By the way, I’m only 12 days in and I’m already 4 days behind).
When I catch up, I feel good for a while… until I start to mess up again. Then I go around beating myself up inside. I only prayed forty minutes today. I’ll have to add the difference to how much I pray tomorrow. And then I only pray 20 minutes tomorrow. Before I know it I need to spend an entire day in prayer to get back on track. Not happening. I give up. I’ve got to read 62 chapters tomorrow to get to where I should be. Not happening. I give up. I did real good with scheduling my entire day on that new planner I got for New Years. For a week. The past five days, well… I give up. I know I said I will go running two miles a day. That means I should have run 24 miles at this point. I’ve done seven. That means tomorrow I have to run 17 miles. Oh yah, plus the two for the thirteenth. Not happening. I give up.
React: The law came through Moses. The purpose of the law is to do two things. 1) Reveal the standard God has. 2) Demonstrate how utterly impossible it is to keep it. Seriously. Have you read Leviticus? Did you know it is a commandment to stand in the presence of an elder. I’m here at a Starbucks. Since I started typing this, I’ve become a lawbreaker three times. Four. And now I’m a willful lawbreaker because I knew I should stand when that door opened but I willfully chose not to. So that’s an entire new type of sacrifice I need to make. I am guilty. The law reveals that.
Love and faithfulness comes through Jesus Christ. Because I love Jesus, I get to spend time in fellowship with Him through prayer. It is no longer a law. It is a demonstration of my love for Him. And because I know He loves me, I don’t need to feel guilty if today isn’t as long as yesterday. I don’t have a box to check off. I have a romance to pursue. Because I love God, I have the privilege and honor of digging into His Word. I want to know Him. If today it is only a few verses, that’s OK. It is an act of love. And because it is not a requirement fed by Law leading to guilt, it is so much easier to stay faithful. The religion vs relationship has become so overused it has become cliche`. But at its heart there is truth. In reality, religion is helping the needy and living holy. I love both of those things. So why not set it up as Law vs Love instead. I don’t have to pursue God. I have the glorious, wonderful honor of pursuing Him. And because of love, in a way, I actually do have to pursue God. What about you?
God, I love You. More than words can ever say, I love You. More than anything else, I love You. Sometimes there rises up in me a desire to “prove” my love for You in the things that I do. Sometimes I begin to put myself under a law, a legalism, that You have already set me free from. Help me to do those things that demonstrate my love for You. Help me to live in faithfulness. But help me to do it out of love, not because of law. Let me live holy because You are holy and I want to be like You, not because there are a bunch of rules that I must follow. Let me swim in the ocean of Your grace. Because, God, I love You.