“Ascetic regulations (practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence) are of no real value in restraining indulgence of the flesh. The only remedy for sinful passions is found in the believers’ experience of union with Christ.” Curtis Vaughan speaking on Colossians 3
For a while I lived under a “microscope” type of theology. I felt like God had me under a microscope and if I messed up then judgement was coming! So, here I was trying to fake good behavior and wearing myself out trying to be perfectly pleasing to God. I also felt like I had to do more, sacrifice more, and run myself ragged in order to serve the Lord. No pleasure to be had. Just work, work, work!! I needed to be a shining example of a true Christian!!
I really started to feel more like a Pharisee. This showed I had not yet learned about or truly experienced my union with Christ.
The Spirit testified to me through many bible studies that my union with Christ means that the judgment of God is no longer reserved for me. Christ already took the judgment on the cross in my place. Once I fully believed and accepted that as truth then my eyes were opened to a whole new way of living for God, and a whole new appreciation for Christ!
Since I am forever free of God’s judgment then I no longer have to keep myself under a microscope. Yes, I want to live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord but I can’t do that through my own will and I don’t have to! No more wearing myself out trying to act a certain way or “do more” in an attempt to prove I am serving the Lord. I am free from trying to obey regulations set up either by God or myself!
“What? This is crazy! So I can just go about my way being disobedient?” No, sir! No, ma’am! This is not freedom to sin but freedom from sin! It is submitting your heart to God to be changed into a new person! It is taking off the old and putting on the new! It is going from just having a changed behavior to having a changed character.
With the fear of judgment gone and knowing the amount of love Christ showed me on the cross I am able to open my heart up to be changed by the Spirit! Oh that mighty, mighty Spirit! He changes my heart so that I am not out here just trying to obey regulations but am being changed into a new person! With a new character! A new heart!
So, now, the way I behave is not fake but just a part of who I am. My behavior flows naturally from a changed heart. When the Spirit opens my eyes to something that needs to be changed in me I have learned that the quicker I come into agreement with that and the deeper I immerse my self into God’s word then the quicker that change can begin! I no longer put myself down or feel like a failure when the Spirit calls me out on something, but instead, I am grateful for it, agree it needs to change, and welcome the Spirit to do His work in my heart!
That is what takes away trying to obey religious practices and creates obedience through a relationship with the One who makes obedience to His commands possible. It is through my union with Christ and His salvation work on the cross that I am changed. Christ is my Sabbath everyday. He is my rest. His burden is easy and His yoke is light. I no longer have to dwell on all the ways I fail but can be lifted up in all the ways He is changing me.
We come to the cross not making promises of doing better and being better. We come to the cross believing in His promise that He will forever abide in us and fully complete the work He has begun in us.
Thank You, God, for this plan that sets me free!
Are you ready for freedom, friends? Lean into the current of His loving word and let Him take you there. Enjoy the ride to contentment my friend! It is a most amazing journey.
As always, if you have questions or need prayer I am here for you!
May His face shine upon you today!