I read a couple of posts this morning that started the wheels turning in my head (that's what the squeaking noise was). The first post was by Dan Edelen here, and the second was by Jeff Dunn and is found here.
As one who grew up and served in conservative Christian circles, I have constantly bumped against walls that were put up to keep us from engaging in certain behaviors, or to make us do other things. I've always been anti-legalism, and over the years cultivated an image as a bit of a rebel. Unfortunately, the image was many times driven by a desire to do what I wanted rather than what God wanted. I was more anti-legalism than pro grace.
I am learning that a reliance on God's grace and love is what should define my life. The posts mentioned above are part of that learning. I am learning that Romans 7:5-6, Galatians 2:19-21, and Colossians 2:20-23 are good passages to live by. I am learning that my Father loves me no matter what I do or don't do. I am learning that Jesus took away all my sins: past, present, and future. Not only that, but the power of sin has been broken by Christ.
Sin is no longer the defining force in my life. I still sin, but I also have a Savior that has freed me. When I do sin, it's not because sin is controlling me. It's life. It's part of being a man who is still learning how to follow Jesus and live in God's grace. Fortunately, my Father doesn't condemn me, he is not disappointed with me. He sees me as his beloved son. He teaches me and leads me, and continues to fill me with his love.
I'm learning that I am not in control of my life, God is. No matter hard I try, I can't please God more. I can't do things that are going to influence God to bless me. It's not up to me.
I'm learning that I am a dead man. I have died to sin and its power. I have died to this world. I am dying to the opinions of other people, because the only opinion that counts is that of the One who calls me child. That last one will take some time.
I want to be as Jesus, who only did what the Father told him to do. Jeff Dunn says that folks accuse him of being "all grace." I'll gladly accept that label. Dan Edelen writes, "Anymore, the only rules I impose on myself on this walk of faith are, am I loving the Lord, and am I loving other people." That sounds good to me. Jesus himself said that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others, and that everything else hangs on that.