Being away from American culture for three years now has given me the opportunity to reflect on many things. The constant judging/condemning/comparing yourselves among yourselves is so engrained in the American culture and takes place constantly on news shows, politics, high schools and now even in our churches. The gospel is such good news and freedom from this pride that is is robbing our entire culture of experiencing His peace, grace, and love. "By this all men will know". Leave God's job to Him to sort it all out. Our job is to love. There are only 2 commandments for us now. Are we being faithful in those 2 things and do we really know and understand His love? I pray for America and all of us that are different from the world to know and experience this love. For some reason our definition of love has been distorted through films and culture. "Fall in" "Fall out"...what is love, a hole? We need a reset in our core of what love is...If God is love and the world needs to see God through us...don't they need to see our love? or do we ourselves as Christians only know law, rules, and religion? I pray, we as Christians, draw in and lay aside the weight that so easily besets us, and know and experience His love.
I am learning grace. I am learning more every day about grace. I’m learning about how we need to walk by the Spirit and not by the law. We as men very easily tend to slide oh so easily over to the law, the flesh, and religion. Living by the spirit is much more self-sacrificial, much more intimate, much more eyes on yourself rather than others, much less comparing yourselves among yourselves.
Years ago when I was a baby Christian, I know I was hearing from the Lord, but I may not have behaved myself around others as best as I could. I was just learning to walk in His ways and the old nature and mindsets or ways of thinking (self-centeredness) were still quite apparent. One example of this was when the Lord was dealing with me about my Disney movies. You see, Mickey darned the walls of my room in high school; I received presents of large stuffed Mickey’s for my birthday, and even went to work at Disney right out of high school. I listened to The Little Mermaid soundtrack while driving back and forth to Orlando on home visits. I loved Disney. After I got saved and had children I began to see the many witches and evil sorcerers in the movies and the Lord began to show me this and prune this affection for these movies from me. It was an idol.
I have quite a mouth and love to share and talk with others and like Joseph opening his mouth, sometimes it gets you into some trouble. See, our holiness (the things God wishes to get out of our lives or into our lives) is a personal, intimate thing between you and Him because He is the one that knows where your heart is and what work needs to be done in it. I heard today that holiness is like the Old testament’s circumcision. It was a covenant between you and your God, personal, private and between you and Him. It would be strange today to go flaunting your “holiness” for all to see. See my circumcision…see my holiness.
You see I shared my intimate personal circumcision with an even younger Christian and she wanted to be like me, so she got rid of her Disney movies also. Was God dealing with her on this? Probably not. This is where one person’s relationship then turns into law. This is not what we are separated unto.
Are Disney movies of the devil and should they be never watched again? By all means, no. We watch Disney movies, my kids love them and the music. Do many people stay in the law and just forbid, forbid, forbid which in turn make it ever more desirable (the strength of sin is the law)?
If we want to share, make sure others know that this is what the Lord is working on YOUR heart about. He knows where the idols lie. Don’t put that on others. Every one is on their own path and can hear from the Holy Spirit themselves. Don’t become their God, help lead them to God. Law makes the focus man, Spirit makes the focus Him.
For a time God circumcised my heart toward the movies because it was too valuable for me. I like the movies now, I watch the movies now, but they have a place now for me. If we are to train our children, it is not just in do this, don’t do that, but to raise them up to respect the Lord, be thankful for His goodness and the grace and relationship repair Jesus did for us so that we can walk by His spirit and not have to return to the law. To have a personal, intimate, relationship with the One that made all things. This is what true witness is to others, not our rules. Men can come up with so many laws that truly are comical. Let us not flaunt our holiness (keep your pants up and keep it to yourself, it is a private thing and let’s not compare our private matters and put them as a burden on others), but rather let us, by our love, show others the way, the way to relationship.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Dee Dee Galloway