Balancing on Unstable Ground

I used to live by, what many would classify, a legalistic pattern for holy living. I thought *I* possessed the full power to abstain from the 'world' and cling to 'holiness' by my long list of To-Do's and Do-Not's. Over time I became legalistic without even realizing it. I struggled in my thought life in regards to judging others. I knew it was wrong to judge and it really didn't matter to me if someone wore pants, dresses, head coverings, or had short hair. Yet, the battle raged inside my mind and it filled my heart full of hypocrisy.

I became so rigid in my actions that I had to stop and think it out. Am I really going to abstain from EVERYTHING people tell me is unholy? If so I might as well toss out my television, never listen to the radio again and for crying out loud, move out of the country. By separating myself so much I found that, even if I could abstain from 'all that is evil' from a physical stand point, I could not escape the evil emotions and thoughts that constantly attacked my mind and soul.

Another thing I had to think about was my friendships. Was I also to completely break off every friend I had that didn't agree with me 100%? Yikes! I started sounding like Hitler. Pointing my finger out at someone else if they didn't believe like me, 100%, was downright abusive. For me to think I had to avoid a blog because they liked the Jonas Brothers, or watched Disney cartoons was getting to be ridiculous. Was I really going to avoid Target because they supported a specific agenda I don't agree with? I might as well dig deep into every company I purchase from to make sure I'm not financially supporting something that doesn't line up against my big fat measuring rod. I couldn't do that, you know why? I'd also have to call the local power company and cancel my service and live in a field with a fire pit.

Do you see where this is leading to? Is this really what kind of life we are to live in the name of Christ our Lord, who freely ate supper with gluttons and sinners? Did Christ our precious Lord eat dinner with ONLY his disciples? Did Jesus ONLY heal those who obeyed the Father 100%? Nay my friends, Jesus dined with those who allowed him to enter because he said,

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20."And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all." Luke 6:19.
The lady taken in the act of adultery was forgiven. Jesus rebuked the religious people for their boasting of obeying the law. I also find where Paul openly corrected Peter because he was forcing new converts to get circumcised.
Let me make myself perfectly clear, I do not believe that grace is a license to love out of love.

I know full well that Paul said not to abuse grace. Just because my articles now breath with grace, does not mean I am diving head first into lovelessness and enjoying fleshly pleasures. I do have values, morals, and ethics to live by. I follow our Lord Jesus Christ as He guides me by His Holy Spirit. If I continue to live strictly according to the law, I find myself unable to and fall into depression. The condemnation consumes me as the enemy whispers in my ear,
"You're not good enough Lisa! See what sin you commit! You're not a real Christian, I bet you're not even saved!"
All while he hammers his gavel on the desk and sentences me to prison to think about my sin. He beats it into my skull to make sure I don't forget. He wraps the barbed wire around my heart and in doing so, the prongs repel anyone who seeks to get close to my heart. These actions are much like an abuser who seeks to control by intimidation. A bully, if you will. I just don't see Jesus that way.

When I live in the flesh, I know I'm wrong. You know how I know this? Because His Holy Spirit grieves inside my chest. But Jesus Christ lovingly corrects, while holding out his hand to offer hope and grace if I just seek his face and look to him. He doesn't make me jump through hoops to make him happy or receive forgiveness. He simply asks me to turn to Him. Does that mean I can commit premeditated harm to others and say, "It's okay."? No of course not! He is the only one who knows our hearts and only He can judge that in us. He is the Living Word and it is He who looks on our hearts and makes us see ourselves for who we really are.

It is not my responsibility to beat others up with the Bible in my piddly attempt to coerce and berate someone into the repentance I think they should come to. That is the job of His Holy Spirit and Him alone! In attempting to do such a thing is usurping His authority over the life of the Believer.

Does this mean I am to ignore a fellow believer's abusive life and condone their actions? I hereby give a resounding NO. I do not support them in that, but I love them towards Christ. We are to beckon them to come in from the highways and byways of life. We are to be a lighthouse in a dark and terrible storm, shining the light on the wave driven path to the safety of the coast of Christ. He is our Rock and our Fortress.

If my messages to others who live in the flesh are beating them up, I lack the grace of Christ, the law of kindness in my tongue, and the warm embrace of His Holy Light. We need to have balance. The balance to live acceptably and not judge others at the same time. This balance can only be brought through the mercy and grace of Christ our Lord.

I can look at someone with my self-righteous eye sight, magnifying all the times they 'miss the mark', or I can look at them through the blood washed lens of the Son-glasses that God gave to us.

How do you find your balance on this unstable ground called life?

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8 *click here* to dialogue with us:

{ Christy } at: October 1, 2009 at 5:14 PM said...

WOW, Lisa!! This is just awesome. Very powerful. VERY clear and concise.
(I repeat, you rock ;) )

{ Teri Lynne } at: October 1, 2009 at 5:16 PM said...

Well written and absolutely true! Thank you.

{ Sallie } at: October 1, 2009 at 8:31 PM said...

Great post, Lisa! I struggle a lot with all of the things people always point out as MY sin. It always seems like they don't seen anything good in me, or at least don't care to let me know there is anything good. Some days I think those folks absolutely hate me. I'm glad my eternity doesn't depend on them, or I'd never get to see my Jesus.

Much love in Christ,

{ Reborn } at: October 3, 2009 at 1:47 AM said...

Thanks, I needed this. :)

{ Reborn } at: October 3, 2009 at 1:48 AM said...

Thanks. I needed this. :)

{ Pure Perseverance } at: October 4, 2009 at 7:04 PM said...

I, too, can identify. Unfortunately, I was the one who was doing the pointing. You made everything very clear. Thank you.

You asked how do I find balance? Just journaled about this last week. I remember that Jesus came to be my example of how to treat others and to lead them to Christ. This thought is quite humbling to me in my everyday, real living. I must remember that the ground at the cross is level, from the most spiritual person to the murderer. We are ALL in need of God's grace! It becomes an urging to pray for one another and bear one another's burdens.

Thank God for His saving grace!

{ Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family } at: October 7, 2009 at 12:14 PM said...

Lisa, I've been reading your recent posts here about emerging from legalism, and our journies seem somewhat parallel. I normally read through my email subscription, but just wanted to stop in and say that I'm finding the series so encouraging

{ TC } at: September 7, 2010 at 8:28 PM said...

Love this. Glad you added it to the Journey to Grace Fridays series. :)

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