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Monthly Archives: Aug 2021

For His yoke is easy

Jesus tells us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light and yet we seem very keen to pass on a heavy yoke to those around us. We all have troubles accepting the free gift of his love and some of us fall into legalism (living under man-made rules) as a way of coping with our desire to earn our way into his favour. I spent most of my life failing to live under the host of man-made rules I was given by well-meaning believers around me. As I repeatedly failed to be a ‘good Christian’ by following these rules I picked up masses of guilt and slowly found myself sinking under it. Although the churches I attended over the years told me a lot about discipleship I failed to find anyone willing and able to disciple me. It appeared that they were lost in their own versions of guilt and fear.

I was told to read my Bible regularly, ideally daily, but I wasn’t told how to differentiate between the different styles of writing to be found within it. I didn’t have someone to explain that it wasn’t meant to be just read on its own in the present age without some direction. So I slogged my way through it and got lost. Was the song of songs meant to be so utterly confusing and how did it connect with how Paul suggested that I live my daily walk? When I was going through suffering why didn’t the book of Job help? I had so many questions about it all but no one to ask because the guilt I was feeling made me feel stupid for not somehow naturally understanding it all.

I had similar issues with prayer. Oh my days, what was going on here! The people around me were using special language whenever they prayed in public almost like the special voice we all use when on the phone to anyone official. They bowed their heads and clasped their hands as if afraid that God would only accept prayer that was squeezed out of penitent hearts and presented in a predetermined manner. I could only copy these examples and yet again try to deal with the guilt I felt whenever I forgot to end my prayers in the prescribed terminology. And that’s ignoring the weight I lived under for not asking His blessing over every bite of food I consumed.

Just 2 of the areas of my Christian walk that I knew I was getting wrong but didn’t a/ realise that God wasn’t the one making the rules and b/ know how to balance all this with a personality that flipped in and out of passion and peacefulness, weakness and strength, joy and sadness etc. And so most of my life has been walked under a cloud of guilt and shame.

But I believe that God has been slowly guiding me into an easier way with a lighter burden. It has been a growing realisation based on the simple truth that if he loves me as much as it is suggested that he does then it can’t come with strings attached. His wonderful love will only sit right with me if I can’t do anything to either improve it or lose it. Which is kinda my understanding of unconditional. With that love, I can not help but want to serve. Not because I have to but because I want to. As I grow into this relationship with my creator I will rely on my feelings that overall assure me that I am on the right track. My peace of mind is good enough for me, having lived with so little of it for so long.

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Simple faith for complicated people

Having just finished my first year at Bible college I have found myself with more emotional, spiritual and mental freedom than I can remember having in my entire adult life. I am aware that a shed-load of this freedom is from having decided that I can’t be living with the massive range of rules that I had taken on over the course of my life. I had begun to see that most, if not all, of these laws, were man-made. I have grown to realise that every time you lay down a rule/law/ordinance etc etc what you actually manage to do is create a line and the lawmakers live on this side of the line and the lawbreakers live on the other side. And once again we have created separation.

I have read the book a few times and all through its pages it appears to be full of rules, laws and the like. Moses was known as the Law-giver. The friends of Job seek to find where he has broken the rules and therefore earnt the disasters that have befallen on him. Jesus spends a certain amount of effort making sure that he followed the rulings previously laid down. In one famous passage, he goes on to list the ways that his followers should behave which would then show others around them that they were indeed his followers.

And yet, when you look a bit closer you can see that any rules that were given were either a part of the plan to get people to see that rules couldn’t get us nearer to God or were specific to a time and a space. As you give it more thought it becomes clear that you can not possibly attach rules to the unmeasurable elements of life like love. If laws are fastened onto love it will become weighted down and cease to be love. Love has to be free.

I now see that I was caught under these man-made obligations all my life. I couldn’t see the truth that was in front of me because my vision was restricted by the long list of rules. It was through misunderstanding these rules that I had managed to negate myself from being a part of the human race and instead had become apart from the human race. Although I could speak fluently about the equalising level ground at the foot of the cross I was convinced that it didn’t include me. I and those of my ilk were not allowed to come near to the foot of the cross.

And yet . . . I can now see the wondrous truth that the opposite is true. I am not accountable for any of my actions. I worship the one true God that puts all my failings as far as the east is from the west away from him. As soon as I acknowledge my short-coming he forgets it. His overreaching desire is for me to know and experience love and that means letting go of man-made rules. It’s real hard to experience true joy when you are tied down by rules. It’s real hard to find true joy in the present-day Church because it is tied down by man-made rules.

I have been struggling for a few years to see the need for rulemaking/keeping middle of the road believers. I want so much to see their place in this great cosmic battle as being worthwhile. But I can’t. I can’t agree with their system where the newcomers are having the enthusiasm and joy beaten out of them by loveless rule-makers. I can’t accept this present system where if your face fits you can expect to be accepted but if it doesn’t then don’t expect any help or support except it comes with provisoes and the like.

I just come back again and again to the people pushed to the outside. They’re my people and they’re real. They’re generally more accepting of others, they have to be because they’ve been excluded themselves. Once they see the truth they become the most loving of all, those that have been forgiven much love much and the outsiders acknowledge the massive depth of their forgiveness. They know that they can never earn it. The outsiders learn to not judge because they know that they will be judged by how they judge. They just open their arms to other outsiders.

The rulemaking often comes from a place of being unable to accept the free gift of forgiveness. It stems from trying in some fashion or other to earn this gift. I spent years refusing to accept it as I wasn’t worth it, so I’ll just follow along quietly behind everyone else and hope that I am not caught out and challenged. I thought that by making my own list of rules I could point the finger at other people and redirect attention away from my sorry-assed unworthy self. I now see that this appears to be a fairly good description of how so many Christians live their lives. Scared of being caught out when the truth is that acceptance is ours to own.

As I reach further into that acceptance I need less approval from those around me. As I step away from seeking others approval I realise that they can’t point out my faults because my faults are as far as the east is from the west. My faults do not define me. Gods love is the only thing that can define me. I am a child of the most high.

So many words to try to explain such a simple idea. So much confusion to try to break free from, but when the mist clears the view is outstanding. I do not want to live by rules anymore except the rules of loving God and loving everyone else and just maybe I’ll be loved by those around me when they have got spare time from themselves to do so. The important thing is that I am loved by God, with that I have everything needed.

Oh abundant love

 
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Posted by on Aug 18, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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