Mar
30

The Freedom of Grace Living (Pt.2) — Devotional

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(If you have not read the last post, The Freedom of Grace Living Pt. 1, please do so because it contains the first part of this topic and lays the groundwork for this posting.)

The Devil does not "make" us do wrong things. He tempts us. Yet, he knows he has a powerful ally in the bosom of each and every one of us. My nature by birth and your nature by birth has a strong bent toward sin. Like the magnetic north of a compass, our fallen hearts point toward sin, selfishness, and immorality.

The nature of freedom has within its core the ability to act contrary to what is best and what is God. This is the only kind of true freedom. Case in point–Adam and Eve. They were created in perfection to enjoy fellowship with God, yet there was the ability to make choices that would lead them in a contrary direction. Through subtle deception the serpent offered them what seemed a better option, a better way of living, a way to be promoted more quickly. You know the rest of the story….

If such tactics could work on the first perfect pair, where does that place the rest of us who arrive here with a nature steeped in generations of family failures? It places us in need of a force and power to overcome our own fallenness and bent toward evil. This is where grace comes in. God has chosen to release grace to us in our sin to liberate us.

Imagine what must be going on in the spiritual realm when a person humbles their heart before God in their sin and failure. Angelic SWAT teams are sent to the scene and begin to war against the criminal holding someone hostage. Heaven’s Emergency Services are sent to help the hostage recover. Constant follow up care is then given to make sure that the trauma of the event does not immobilize them in life. These are just ways of thinking about what grace does when it arrives. The good news for each of us is that God’s heart is to send His grace to us in our time of need. You cannot reach any other sane conclusion from reading your Bible other than God is a God of Grace to those who turn toward Him. For those who resist grace is refused. God releases great grace to the humble but resists the proud. Why? The proud think they need no grace. They can do it on their own. Isn’t that where Adam and Eve went off on a terrible tangent? They decided they could do it on their own. They were deceived into believing that there was a better way than what God had planned for them. This is the same ole bait the Devil still puts on his hooks and he keeps reeling in the same ole fish day after day. I know, my mouth is still sore from one of them.

It is knowing and applying the truth that leads us to freedom (John 8:31-32). As long as we refuse to own up to our sin, we are bowing to the Tyrant inside us. This self-protecting choice will ultimately lead us to the feet of the Tyrant of Tyrants. Refusing to be truthful about the condition of our own hearts is the most dangerous choices we can make. In our Bible-Belt Christian culture, we have become experts at covering our sin by using our religious cliches and focusing on the "good"things we have done. We can convince our minds that because we have helped some people, we can mistreat others, and there is really no damage done.

Our fallen nature is adept at analyzing situations. If we are dealing with a person whom we can use to promote our own causes, we will purposely be nice. Our culture calls this "kissing up." If it someone who really has no power or influence to help us in our personal causes, then it is easier to just let them ride off into the sunset and not worry about the results. If each of us would be brutally honest, we have all behaved this way to some degree. But let us not compare one another. Let’s look at Jesus.

Jesus reached out to the people who had the least influence to help him.
Jesus, to his own hurt, was truthful to the religious leaders of his day.
Jesus chose to live a truth centered life.
Jesus was never submitted to the Devil or sin.
Jesus lived with a "What can I give?" philosophy instead of a "What can I get?" motivation.
Jesus dealt with grace to the repentant and humble.
Jesus never denied the evil of sin, but was always ready to give grace to the sinner.
Jesus did not bow to the fear of man or live a "mock" life.
Jesus valued honestly in people’s assessment of their own lives.
Jesus commanded people to repent for their wrong living.
Jesus helped repentant people on their new journey.
Jesus was truly free.

Because Jesus lived a "freedom" life, you and I can too. His grace is free. His heart is big. Let’s all be honest about the Tyrant inside us. Let’s humble ourselves before the One who is the only One who ever lived a life completely bondage free. Let’s receive his grace into our repentant hearts and live lives that are more Christ-centered and less self-centered. The proof is in the pudding. How often do you and I make choices to protect or promote ourselves at the expense of someone else’s well being?

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