Reflections of Grace 38: Living From the Heart, part1

What is a religious spirit? 

  • A Religious spirits breeds bondage. It produces condemnation and blocks true liberty (see Galatians 5:1; Romans 8:1.) Religion creates only a form of godliness. This comes through regimen and repetition, not grace. We are to avoid people with forms of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5).  Religion corrupts and perverts. It holds up an unrealistic standard that cannot be attained because of the flesh. The laws of God are now written in our hearts and not on tablets of stone. Trying to live by the dictates of the tablets of stone alone only opens the doors to corruption and perversion through religious spirits of failure. This is why perversion and corruption are multiplied when men attempt to serve God by their own power and guidelines (see Hebrews 8:7–13).
  • They live by a set of rules and regulations and meetings and laws that they tend to impose on you as a means to draw closer to God.  They look at outward appearances and proclaim the sins of others without looking on their own lives and realize that we all fall short of living up to Pharasitical standards of acceptance.  It saddens me when I see these kinds of people for they struggle and work and presume judgment of others to achieve greatness in the Kingdom of God, when all along Jesus already paid the price for their freedom from those very laws.  They failed to see those rules only were there in the first place to show us we needed a Savior.  We could never measure up without Him. And it saddens me even more how many people their judgments injure and hinder in their growth because they just never measure up.
  • But it is too hard to change for many and too hard to let go of the control and the superiority of being the judge of others in the Body for then they might have to look inward.  The sin in our lives is often just the surface symptom of a deeper level of the heart that the Lord is working on.  So, how can we look on the outward ‘sin’ of others and presume we can judge their condition when God is the only one who can see the heart and the only one who knows how to heal that heart.

Do we really understand Grace?

  • Grace is an ongoing revelation to our souls as long as we are on this earth with our limited knowledge.   Everything seems conditional in our lives.
  • If you love me, then I will love you.
  • If you serve me, then I will serve you.
  • If we can find the right set of conditions to meet and we do it, our happiness is secured.    What happens though, if we can’t meet our end of the bargain?  Because for every promise of reward there is a promise of punishment in the world we live in.  This is where anger, fear, and insecurity begin to encompass us.

The message is that accomplishment precedes acceptance, and achievement precedes approval.

  • We get caught up in perfectionism and we have all sorts of ways to try to justify our actions, but none of those justifications can change the fact that instead of feeling accomplished, we allow impossible burdens to be put on ourselves that ultimately produces exhaustion, bitterness , shame and a general feeling of failure.   It may be all we know and we may even impose our conditions of acceptance on others.  Maybe even our children.
  • Have you noticed that the people in the bible that we call heroes are not really heroes?  They were mostly all losers at first, before God got a hold of them. Prostitutes, liars, adulterers, thieves, doubters, scornful, etc. etc.    They fall and fail, they make huge mistakes.  They get afraid.  They are selfish, deceptive, egotistical and unreliable.  Actually the bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with His rescue, our sin, with His grace, His salvation. They all became great men and women of God but not until they surrendered to God. Just like us!!
  • The focus of the bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer!!  It is not about us.  It is about Him.  He came just so we can be free of the demands of the law.

Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. 

Grace is love coming to you that has nothing to do with you.  It is being loved and accepted when you are unlovable.

  • Grace has nothing to do with the loved, but everything to do with the Lover.
  • You are the beloved.
  • Grace doesn’t make demands it just gives.

Seriously, when you think about it doesn’t it look like Jesus is always giving of Himself, and did you notice, according to today’s church standards, He hung out with the wrong people? 

  • There were the prostitutes, the adulterers, the tax collectors and the like.  The worst sinners of Jesus’ day received his most joyful, compassionate welcome and love—because He knew that once they hung out with Him they would change from the inside out.
  • By nature we resist promises that seem too good to be true.  So we feel so much better and SO MUCH MORE IN CONTROL, when we work for His acceptance and then we can feel like it is about us and how much we earned His favor.

All we have to do is receive it…take the gift of Grace into our lives and walk in it.

  • But we are uncomfortable because grace turns the tables on us, relieving us of our precious sense of control.
  • Jesus came to liberate us from the weight of having to make it on our own, from the demand to measure up, and the obligation to fix ourselves.

Breathe in His peace!!

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