To help me stay out from under the law I work hard at keeping two things in mind:
- I don't do anything alone—in thought, word, or deed.
- Anything I do is for the purpose of changing me, or the world around me.
I hope you see the advantage of never going it alone, but instead, involving God in every thought, word, or deed. And I trust I've given you enough practical help to get you started in the right direction.
There's a reason David said: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD [is] good; Blessed [is] the man [who] trusts in Him (Psalm 34:8)!” Once you have a taste of the Lord's presence, you won't want to live without Him.
I am so hooked on God's presence that I literally will not live without Him. If I can't partner with Him in every thought, word, or deed then I don't want to live. I'm not saying I don't drift off “gone yonder” at times during the day. I might have “hours” when I'm unaware of His presence, but I don't have “days” apart from Him. I would self‐destruct if I did.
My hope is that your passion for God's presence will completely overwhelm your desire for the cheap imitations this world has to offer. My hope is that your passion for His presence will completely overwhelm your desire to ever try to do anything apart from Him.
As we have gone through this series can you see how your work ethic has changed? The work you do has become less about changing your behavior and more about changing your mind. To join with God at the hip in every single thought, word, and deed requires some serious mental demolition and reconstruction. It's very hard work, but it's a different kind of work because you can actually be successful.
And it's especially rewarding when you notice, after installing a brand‐new mindset, that some of the old behavior patterns have changed automatically. Have you had that experience yet? If not, you're very close. And talk about getting pumped up… what a motivator it is to see life‐long issues just disappear because of His presence.
Remember Day Eight's bicycle analogy? Let's take another look at it from a different perspective:
The difference between working under the law and working under grace can be illustrated by thinking about two different ways of riding a bicycle:
- Under the law, when you ride your bike your focus is on not falling off. At all costs you must not fall off.
- Under grace, when you ride your bike your focus is on where you're going. At all costs you must get to where you are going.
The second part of my two‐part checklist about staying out from under the law is to keep in mind that anything I do is for the purpose of changing me, or changing the world around me.
Under the law, the purpose of riding a bike is to not fall off. It doesn't matter if I go round and round in a circle as long as I stay on the bike. I may not have made any progress, but I can say that I didn't fall off. I can live under the law and get nowhere but dizzy.
Under grace, the purpose of riding a bike is to get to where I'm going. The destination drives me, and if I happen to fall off every once in a while—no big deal, as long as I make my destination, as long as I move from where I was to where I'm going.
How do you actually feel about change? How open are you to change in your life?
We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people's minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses' writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:13–18 NLT)
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the law written on stone tablets, his face glowed from being in the presence of God, and the Israelites were afraid. So Moses covered his face with a veil while he was speaking with them. (See Exodus 34:29–35.) The veil represented their unwillingness to see the presence of God in the law. And so they just did what they had to do; they followed the law as best they could—having no real understanding of its value.
The veil still remains for the people in our current culture who do not turn to Jesus. They live like the Israelites, following the law as best they can, but having no real understanding of its value. Their minds are also hardened or blinded (covered with a thick skin or callus). They are unable to see past the rules. They cannot see that God didn't put rules in place to destroy them, but to keep them from destroying themselves. Consequently, they are unable experience God's love in those standards of behavior.
I used to be one of these people—even after asking Jesus to save me. (All over the world many Christians are living under the law because, in their minds, grace applies to the next life but the law applies to this one.) My mind was hardened (blinded); I could not understand the truth. The Bible was an impossible rule book. Oh, I saw God in this rule book, but He appeared to be ready to whack me whenever I messed up. I had to stay on the bike and not fall off. My total concentration was on not falling off the bike, and every time I did I counted myself as a failure. Change was impossible for me under those conditions. I was failing enough as it was; I was not going to risk more failure by trying to change.
Can you see how living under the law has made us resistant to change? With change comes a whole new set of rules… and we didn't do so good with the last bunch. Because we were blinded to God's presence in the law, we also had none of His power to bring about any change. Said differently, because we couldn't see the value of the law, we only tried in frustration to change what we did—without ever considering changing the way we thought.
But when we turn to Jesus (with everything we've got, not just with lip service) the veil is removed. Our resistance to change disappears because we can see His glory and begin to reflect His glory in our own lives. Change suddenly becomes desirable when we realize He is changing us more and more into His glorious image.
Suddenly, the goal is no longer to just keep from falling off the bike… no! We want to ride! We have a place we want to go. And we are going to get there… no matter how many spills we might have.
Have a good weekend,