Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hearing the wrong message

I’ve come to the conclusion that many people are drawn to the message of grace because of the freedom it gives. When they’re told about the love of God and that we’re free from the law, they hear . . . FREEDOM!!! This translates in their minds to . . . “There are no rules so I can do anything I want.”

With this message of freedom ringing in their ears, they take off running doing whatever they want. The hurt that results doesn’t even concern them because, after all, they're now free. If anyone tries to correct their behavior, they’re immediately told that they have a pharasaical spirit and that they’re trying to put people in bondage.

The problem is that these people are hearing the wrong message. It’s true that we’re free from the law but the real message is LOVE. Yes, we can now do anything we want and God will still love us but the fact is that we now have a new heart that is filled with God’s love. Although freedom is a byproduct, love is now the compelling force in our lives and it compels us to live righteously as loved children of God instead of being controlled by our selfish desires.


Jim Robbins said...

This is so good, Aida. You've been noticing this same phenomenon that I have. When one first discovers the freedom that is ours in Jesus, there can be an over-reactivity to anything that even smells like the old thing. This is normal -- but staying there isn't healthy.

You're right, love is the defining influence and plumb line for all we think and do now.

sandy said...

Great words, Aida. I agree with what you've shared. I think maybe there's like a "honeymoon" period when one discovers the freedom in the grace message. In a healthy marriage the honeymoon period matures into an even deeper love relationship. That's what I'm hoping is happening, that there will be a growing in grace and freedom that blossoms and deepens into a message of Love and we act in love and not without regard for one another's feelings and hearts.

Aida said...

When they first enter this life of grace, so many believers are like a college student who for the first time in his life is away from the restrictions of his parents’ control. Instead of thinking, “Wow! What a great opportunity for an education!,” he thinks, “IT’S PARTY TIME!!!” Hopefully, after one or two failing grades, he’ll begin to understand why he’s there and settle down but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

Jim, you are so right. It isn’t healthy to stay in that place of immaturity. For their own benefit as well as for the benefit of others, hopefully they’ll move beyond that place into a life rooted in grace.

Sandy, your comparison to a healthy marriage is a good one. As our understanding of grace grows, we’ll be free to love the way we’ve been loved.

Justin.Shively said...

I know I've gone through this myself. When I first heard that we are free from condemnation, there was a period where I did sort of go crazy, EVERYTHING was fine. But after a while Father started showing me that, while my actions could never change His feelings toward me, they can and do impact my relationships around me. I think this is a crucial realization on this journey. We are free, but let us not abuse this freedom for own selfishness.


Aida said...

Great comment, Justin.

When freedom becomes license, it hurts everyone around us and it makes us less than God created us to be but, thank goodness, His loves for us remains the same. It’s never based on our behavior because it’s based on who he is and what Jesus has done.

learning said...

This is something that has worried me about being "free". I am still learning so much, and I have at times been concerned when people have talked about things and not mentioned that aspect.

Aida said...

Hi learning. Thanks for stopping by.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who will abuse freedom and turn it into license and, in the process, hurt themselves as well as others. I would hope that there will be some safe places where they can be encouraged and challenged to move beyond that childish state to a place of maturity but the truth is some will listen and some will not. Jesus said we need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. I believe we need to learn to recognize those who are in this infantile state in order to protect ourselves and, if God so chooses, we might be that safe place where they can receive healing and wholeness.

Hopefully, as the church grows in understanding grace, the message of love will be more powerful than the call of the flesh.