Well, it has been a week since the challenge of obeying all traffic laws to the exact letter of the law was given. I failed. As I said in the last post I believe myself to be a good and obedient driver but did not follow all the laws all the time. I found out I often don't drive with my hands at 2 and 10. I often drive with one hand or one hand at 10 the other at 5. I don't always obey the speed limit on side roads and I found out I am influenced to disobey by others. Whether those people are in the car or other drivers I sometimes change the way I drive based on the people around me.
Two questions were given to reflect on: 1. Is there a benefit to following the rules? and 2. Is it possible to do everything right? Both questions seem to have easy answers and maybe I should leave it at that, but if I am taking time to blog about it you know I won't leave it at that.
1. Is there a benefit to following the rules? Yes, obviously. There is a great amount of protection to ourselves and others when we obey traffic laws. As I realted this to the spiritual assignments in the study (Starting Point) I recognize the same is true of God's laws. I spent some time reading through Psalm 119 which is all about God's laws. I was taken aback by how much the Psalmist loves God's laws. I can't say I am always crazy about the commands and instructions God gives in His word on how I am supposed to live my life but I do know that there is unbelievable benefit for those who do. I deisre to make Ps. 119: 7 which says "As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!" (NLT) be my life motto. I want to be refined and shaped by God's laws that I may have a more intimate realtionship with Him.
I believe unfortunately that God is often seen by many people as a big guy in the sky waitng for people to screw up and make mistakes. Rather God gave us the law to benefit us and help us grow closer to Him. Andy Stanley states it this way in the companion message that goes with this lesson, "God gave us the law not as a condition of a relationship but as the confirmation of one." I love that. I heard it first a few months ago and it completely rocked my world. God doesn't want me to obey because it is the only way to have a relationship with Him but because I already have one. He has already made a way to heaven through Jesus Christ and it has nothing to do with how well I obey His laws. Praise God!
2. Is it possible to do everything right?
James 2:10 tells us "For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God's laws". Pretty powerful verse. God loves me enough to have made a way for me to be in a personal realtionship with Him and He gave His commands as confirmation of His great love for me.
The question that has been asked by people since the time of Christ then is this, why do we need to do what is right? If we live by grace why not keep sinning? It is true that we have a war going on inside of us between the Spirit of God who lives in us when we place our faith in Jesus Christ and our own human nature. It is also true that we can choose which of those voices to listen to. Romans 5-8 speaks directly to these issues. The encouragement I find among these verses is this, "Therefore, dear brothers and sister, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live." (Rom. 8:12-13) I can choose to live by the Spirit rather than my sinful nature. The more I understand that God puts in place rules that will benefit my life because of His great love for me the more it is my hearts desire to listen to the voice of the Spirit rather than the often louder and more obvious voice, me.
No, I did not follow the exact letter of the law this week but you can be sure that I thought about it a whole lot more. Each time I broke the law I was aware of it and had to give an account as to why I broke it. I hope to gain a close enough sensitivity to the Spirit of God that I am aware of my sin, I grieve over my sin but that I live in the freedom of grace to recognize that nothing I do can earn me a realtionship with God. His grace shows a love so amazing there is nothing I could ever do to earn it or lose it. Thank You God for Your amazing love!