For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly. (Proverbs 5:21-23)
Perhaps the better question to ask before “what are we doing?” should have been “how are you doing?”. Could it be that one reason why we’re not accomplishing much of the job of sharing the joy of following Jesus is that we’re not doing too well with that. We believe … and would do our best to encourage others to believe.
Somewhere after ‘I will cling to the old rugged cross‘ I can find myself grabbing at so many other supports – deceptive props that appear to offer strength. On the surface they look good, but ultimately there is only One who can reach our heart with real spiritual strength, and that is Jesus.
Even knowing this, why do we still allow the cords of sin to hold us fast? I don’t know what cords are holding you fast … killing you with a lack of discipline … guiding you in your own folly. Is it gluttony? Selfishness? Greed? Lust? Pride? Ok, let’s just stop the list. But are there marks on your arms … evidence of the bondage that has kept you from the real life offered by Jesus?
I think that if we’re not doing too good with this we’re not going to be too hot to have our neighbor down at church with us. Can it be that our inability to accept God’s grace is one of the roots of our evangelism drought? Yes, grace is at the center of this discussion.
There are those who believe that once you get your game on, you’ll be dropping those habitual sins like hot potatoes.
Then there are those who believe that once the salvation button is pushed, your sin doesn’t count any longer. No need to worry about it – do whatever you want.
To tell you the truth, I do not identify with either of those ideas very much. The same struggles seem to reappear every time I think I’ve overcome them. And I do struggle with them – I do not believe that swimming in the ocean of Gods’ grace means that I have no obligations to Him.
And so grace has not set me free in the sense that I never struggle any more. And grace has not set me free from obligation or intentionally growing closer to His image.
I do believe grace has set me free from the wages of sin (death). I believe grace has set me free from worries about my inconsistencies and failures. I believe grace is a cause of celebration on my journey. Grace has set me free from the weight of a thousand legalities so that I can worship and serve God without fear of losing all He has given me in a single mistake. Grace has set me free to love the unlovely, serve the undeserving, bless the unworthy, lift the fallen, and repair the broken. Grace allows me to love and worship with believers who haven’t arrived at the same conclusions I have. Grace reminds me to allow the Judge of the Universe judge the universe. Grace has given me the opportunity to get up when I’ve fallen, come back when I’ve wandered away, and feel the embrace of the Father’s love when I need Him most.
One of the most striking qualities of grace is that it continually reminds me that I’m not doing these things … it is God’s work in and through me. Grace paints a picture of my dependence on God.
I think if I could remind myself to live in grace, I might just be happy enough about that situation to want to invite a friend to take a look.
As such, maybe the question of “What are we Doing?” is best answered by another question: “How Are You Doing?” What do you think?
Personal Update: The plan for several of us to visit my parents Thursday has been canceled. My dad will have a scope tomorrow to determine the source of severe abdominal pain. There is a chance that it is the cancer, and a chance that it is an ulcer. There may be other possibilities as well. Tomorrow I will get up early and drive to New Orleans to be with the family during the procedure and recovery. Mom has had a terrible week as well, unable to do much more than walk across the room. Please continue to pray for my parents in this struggle for life.
Thanks for reading!