Put the rest in stressed
Stress and Circumstances
We've been having a very busy time getting settled and jumping right into language study for Spanish. Things have been crazy and I've barely gotten a chance to sit down and relax. Just a couple minutes here and there most days and then shower and go to sleep.
Based on how crazy things have been and how little time I seem to have, I would have expected myself to be a lot more stressed than I am. I think one of the reasons I'm not feeling very stressed is that I am finally starting to understand what it means that I am accepted in Christ and the freedom that comes with that.
Our Position In Christ
Our position in Christ means that we are fully accepted by him. We are loved unconditionally and we can't add to or take away from that. I grew up hearing, "We can't add to, or take away from our standing with God." But for some reason I always heard, "You can't mess up big enough for God not to love you anymore." (which is true). But recently for me I've been understanding what it means that we cannot add to our standing in Christ. We cannot get God to accept us more or be happier with us based on our good works. Our acceptance is unconditional. It is a free gift for us because of Christ's death on the cross in our place.
Freedom from Expectations
Again, this is something that I remember hearing but it took a long time to sink in. I have been set free from lawish thinking. My relationship with God is not about my performance before him it’s about my walk with him. Any “works” that I do, I do because I want to do them because of God changing me through my walk with him. I have been set free from a “lawish” way of life.
“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
This passage is finally sinking in. I finally understand what it means to be “under grace” instead of “under law”(Rom. 6). It’s a totally different way of thinking being “under grace”. It means that my restraint and my motivation come from walking with God and enjoying a relationship with him. It comes from his awesome grace. Some may call it “amazing”!
Because I’m under grace and I’m not constantly thinking of lists of things I should be doing or should not be doing, the opinions of others really don’t matter. I say that meaning that I don’t have to subject myself to whatever those around me consider “spiritual”. I don’t have to be insecure and try to please people, because their opinion of me is insignificant compared to my acceptance in Christ and my walk with him. (This of course is held in perspective by the rest of Scripture. I desire to be considerate to my brothers and sisters in Christ and become all things to all people. But I don’t do it out of obligation or because I should. I do these things because I want to.)
I started out trying to explain this concept by saying, “You know if you don’t want to do something, then just don’t.” Of course saying that sounds ridiculous. There are lots of things we’re doing that we don’t “want to do”, but in some way I really do want to do them. I really do want to serve my wife by doing the dishes. I really do want to spend 50 hours a week learning Spanish. I really do want to live in the mountains of Mexico without a lot of comforts of home and family. But I want to do those things because of my walk with Christ.
Some people consider it “more spiritual” to get up at 4 am and read their Bibles then. I don’t think it matters that much so I don’t. Some people think it’s more spiritual to (fill in the blank with a non-sin issue) but I don’t so I don’t.
Anyway, I’m sure that long confusing ramble didn’t do a lot of good and was probably misunderstood, but I wanted to share this because this has been a huge transformation in my life over the last couple of months and I’m excited to share it.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.