The Law and Grace. Day twenty-five...
If you're a professional golfer, and hire a Butch Harmon or a David Leadbetter to help you improve your game, are you going to listen for their correction, or are you going to attempt to figure it out for yourself.
If you're paying somebody thousands of dollars to teach you how to play a better game of golf, I seriously doubt you have much interest in creating your own technique. A top‐level golf pro is going to have a perspective about your technique that you are just blind to yourself.
If I'm spending my hard‐earned money to pay somebody to teach me something, I'm going to be a bit obsessed about hanging on to their every word.
But some folks are on the other end of the spectrum, and believe they are the top‐level experts—that no one else has a perspective as elevated as theirs.
This is perfectly illustrated by the aging rock star, Madonna. A couple of days ago I skimmed through an article on Madonna by Yagana Shah.
“If there's anything that we know about Madonna, it's that she doesn't play by the rules—she makes her own. And after more than 30 years in the industry, she says she has license to do as she pleases, regardless of what her critics say. At 56, Madonna says she's always ‘breaking some taboo.’”
At the end of the article is a telling quote from Madonna: “I earned my stripes. B**ch, I'm Madonna. And that's it.”
Of course you don't have to be rich and famous to make up your own rules. I know plenty of homeless men and women who live by their own rules whenever and wherever possible.
But we live by our own rules at our own peril.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self‐control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. (2 Timothy 3:1–9 NKJV)
When I become entangled in a mindset that defines my success by how well I play by my own rules, I have estranged myself from Christ. Maybe I will appear to be successful for a season, but at some point my folly will be known to all.
It's pretty easy to see how the rebels among us insult God's grace. But it's not so easy to see how those of us who want to play by God's rules can also insult His grace—if we become obsessed with our performance.
For me to attempt to justify myself by my own righteousness may appear noble at first thought, but it is an insult to God's grace.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. (Galatians 5:1–6 NKJV)
When I become entangled in a mindset that defines my success as to how well I play by all of God's rules, I have automatically become estranged from Christ. If I attempt to justify myself by anything or anyone other than Christ, I have fallen from grace.
If you measure your relationship with God by your performance, and your performance isn't measuring up, the answer, though, is not to abandon your effort for excellence.
And the answer isn't in doing what “you” feel like doing for a change. Neither is the answer in making up your own rules—the rules that are natural and easy for you to follow.
The answer is in submitting your direction and your discipline to the Lord.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:6–10 NKJV)
Have a good day,