Don’t Box Me In

Imagine this scenario (it really did not happen), we are going to have our church parking lot and driveways paved (that really is happening, yeah!). When the job is done we call in a company to line our parking lot. Real parking spaces and arrows to help us make the best use of our newly paved space. The first Sunday that all of this is a reality, Mrs. Church Sourpuss comes storming in to our head Deacon and begins to complain about the new lines in the parking lot. “How dare you try to determine how I should park”, she complains loudly, “That is legalism. The old parking lot was a parking lot of grace. It allowed me to freely choose where ever I desired to park. You are squelching the leading of the Spirit of God and destroying the joys of grace by putting those lines in. I demand that we crush this audacious display of legalism and allow for the free expression found in grace.” I know our head Deacon and I am pretty sure I know what he would be thinking but the words that would come out of his mouth would be a truer display of grace than a parking lot without lines would be.

The grace of God is not separate from the law of God. Jesus came to fulfill the law of God but he did not come to abolish the law. God’s grace is found in his law. It is not loving to allow those we love to simply do whatever their sinful heart moves them to do. God loves us enough to put guidelines and protections in place. He knows the destructive nature of sin and he seeks to keep us from those perils. He does not tell us to flee from sexual immorality because he wants to keep us from pleasure. He commands us to stay pure so that our pleasure will be full and safe. He knows what is best and knows our sinful hearts will lead us to pain and sorrow. His grace is found in his law.

 One of the greatest choices we can make is to seek the wisdom of God, in the Word of God, to determine how to live our life to the fullest. Reading his Word, praying faithfully, sharing our faith, not neglecting the gathering with fellow believers, overcoming evil with good, fleeing youthful lusts, blessing those who persecute us, speaking the truth in love...we could go on and on...are examples of the law of God that we should pursue with all that we have. These laws are meant to give us a life that is full of joy, peace, and strength. These commands are great examples of the amazing grace of God.

I once heard that a train is most free when it is running on the tracks. The paths of righteousness that God sets before us are not mean to hinder our lives but to allow us to live our lives to the fullest. Our parking lot will have lines. It will function best when we obey the law of the lines and arrows. We will not believe that staying within these lines will grant us more grace from God but they will be an example of the grace God gives us to make our lives better.

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