"The world is a mess, and it's our fault." This is one of the most important things our father has taught us over the years. It sounds hard, but sometimes we need to hear hard truths. God has given principles for all people to live by. Christians are supposed to know exactly what these principles are and live by them, setting the example and upholding the standard. Yet Christians can be some of the most careless and ungrateful and forgetful people. We Christians can be responsible for leading the culture either away from God's design or toward it.
As good as the above sounds it was thoughts like these that kept my relationship with Christ at a distance. It seems to me that the whole point of the above is to point people to standards. When was the Christian life about standards? Five or so years ago I truly believed it was. To be a good Christian you had to have different convictions than the world. They would see you lived differently, see your standards, wonder why, and presto! One had a great witnessing opportunity! All because we had standards and were different.
But its not about standards at all. Its about Christ. The world shouldn't know we are Christians by our standards, but by our love. (Jn 13:35)
In Colossians 2:16-23 is says:
So don't let anyone condemn you for what eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holidays or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing Christ himself. Don't let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don't let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do yo keep on following rules of the world, such as, Don't handle, don't eat, don't touch." Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person's evil thoughts and desires.Pointing people to the christian way of life as standards is like pointing people to the law and keeping them there. The christian life isn't about what standards we have after we are saved. The law was only a shadow of the real thing, Christ. If you really want to fulfill the law and live like Christ would want you to, LOVE. "Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements. (Rom 13:10) Love satisfies ALL of God's requirements. It's not love plus homeschool. Love plus daughters staying at home. Love plus whatever else you want to insert. It's just love.
How do we love? "We love each other as the result of his [God] loving us first" (1 Jn. 4:19) We fulfill the law by experiencing a relationship with Christ! We love because He first loved us. It's not about trying to be nice to people, going to church on Sunday, dressing a certain way. It's about knowing and experiencing Christ.
NOTHING happens unless we experience the love Christ has for us! This was such a revelation to me. I used to try so hard. I would try to spend enough time in God's Word. I would try to help my parents. I would try display love and joy. I would try to be nice to my siblings. Try, try, try. I would go to bed and know I did not measure up so I would try harder. But what I didn't know is that it's not about trying! We could never become perfect on our own! We could never measure up no matter how hard we tried! That's why Christ came in the first place. It wasn't only about delivering us from hell but also delivering us in the here and now of trying to measure up. Delivering us from always having to try harder. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace....It's the Fruit of the Spirit not of me trying harder.
Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on Chapter One!