Law Versus Grace

Author - Sydney Gunn

One of my favorite things to do is reflect on what I am learning and see how there has been growth and progress, yet as I came to write this blog, I felt all sorts of disoriented. I have loved my time here at The Fellowship more than I expected, but that wasn't after a few weeks of determining whether or not I wanted to be here. When thinking about everything God has taught me this month, I am realizing God's sovereignty in having me here - that in itself is a growth lesson for me. Many of the things I have been wrestling with are already being answered, and God is graciously softening my hard heart toward Him. Before I dive into a large topic God has been laying on my heart, I want to touch on a few ways God has been moving in my life.

  • Through our quiet time, I have been seeking God more. This has ignited other growths in my life that used to be in my routine, such as regular prayer, seeing God in the mundane moments, and remembering His beauty and creation.
  • Continuing to learn to give up control in small situations by remembering that I do not need to be in control. I can step back and feel the freedom of humbly asking to help and not be in charge.
  • As a doer, God has been putting on my heart the act of BEING and slowing down my heart and life to rest and rejuvenate.
  • I have learned to lean into the Holy Spirit and seek what He has for me through the Word of God and even my life.
  • The importance of ABIDING while discovering what it means to abide and why this is imperative for our spiritual growth.

So, what is the bigger lesson God has been teaching me? I have learned this last month that my theology has gotten out of alignment. For so long, I have been unknowingly operating under a "law" where I should be living perfectly for Christ by doing all the Christian things, and as a result, I will be blessed by God with what I desire. Ultimately, God is not a God of cause and effect. I think for a long time, I intellectually knew this was not how God operated, yet I still wanted God to bless me because of all the ministry I was doing for Him.

I don't think I was always doing ministry just for the sake of the Lord to bless me, but I got involved in secular ministry out of desires in my heart that felt like it was the "right Christian thing to do." As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to attain perfection. As a result, I wanted to attain perfection with Christ too. This meant that I unknowingly may have felt that I needed to perform and do things for Christ for him to be pleased with me. In my life, this involved me "giving up my timeline for my life for the sake of being willing to do ministry."

Now, I am not saying God's hand wasn't completely involved in this; it was, and God used it for so much good. In fact, He might even put me back in ministry, but that is a different topic and blog we can touch on later. But what I am saying is I dove in hard after Christ when it "felt like God called me into ministry," yet it was not what I wanted to do. That misalignment led me to be confused about whether God really cares about the things that I enjoy and desire. As a result, ministry became exhausting and tiring as I was doing it out of my strength and doing it for the wrong reasons. Because of all this, when we started learning about free will, what it means to be a disciple, and the basics of salvation, I felt like, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, I finally got it.

For the last few years, I have been living under a "law" that I have created in my mind to make me a good and right Christian in the eyes of God. Our "laws" involve us seeking to live out a list of what we think we need to complete to be right with God and live out our salvation. My "law" involved making sure I read the Bible every day, attended community, confessed my sins, served out of a heart of gratitude, and kept the character of a godly Christian woman - to name a few. As a result of doing all these things perfectly for Christ, I would be blessed by the Lord with the things I desire - a husband, a family, and a job I love and actually want to do (not secular ministry). If only I can hold myself together "perfectly" and perform in all the "right" ways, then I will have "made it" in my relationship with Christ, and the rest of my life will be smooth sailing. That sounds daunting, doesn't it? I am sure if you are at least half my age or at least five years farther down the road than I am, you might think - "good goal but keep living."

As you can see, I came into this program distraught, ready to be done with God, and actively doing everything I could just to be done with Church. Since being here, God has softened my hard heart and stirred in me a heart of pursuit. He has led me to enjoy being with Him again and reminds me of one of the most important truths I can walk away with - You do not have to do anything for Christ. God gives so much grace and freedom.

Christ came to set us free from the weight of the law. He came to set me free from the weight of my "made-up law." For the last few years, though, I have felt the exact opposite of freedom as it pertains to my relationship with the Lord. Instead, I have lived under a law of performance, obligation, and doing things for Christ's love. I was making sure I "lived in the way of the calling of Christ" to perfectly reach sanctification - no wonder I was overwhelmed and ready to walk away from this thing called "Christianity." Approaching our life with God in this way is like fighting a winless battle. And as our leader says, it is foolish.

BUT...we do not have to do that! I could never go to Church again, never read my Bible again, never disciple someone again, and God would still love me, and I would still be saved, simply because I believed in Christ dying on the cross for my sins. Now that is FREEDOM! For some, this may be a little "too freeing," but that is where the Holy Spirit and sanctification come in. The same power that saves us is the same power that sanctifies us - the Holy Spirit. Of course, God wants me to have a relationship with Him and His people while growing in character and repenting of my sins, but God loves me the same way He will if I don't do that. It is an odd tension to live out and walk by the Holy Spirit in, but I am finding it so much more life-giving to see the grace rather than the obligation to be a part of God's gracious chosen family.  

My prayer for you this week is that you will see the grace and freedom that God has given you through His son, Jesus Christ. As a result of that, I pray the Holy Spirit would reveal to you what is next in your life as you seek God out of a desire for what He did for you on the cross.

God give you much grace, friends!
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