Free in Christ
Nowadays you find people who want to convince you of one or another faith principle all over the place. Just look around you on Sundays. People meet wherever they can in town to keep church. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but we must take care not to become so caught up talking about the things of the Lord that we miss the Lord of the things.
Therefore, a simple warning: 16So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days.
We can easily start focusing on the wrong things.
But many people, sometimes even us, prefer to follow a few rules and regulations so that we can know that we’re covered. We feel better or safer to have done something to earn this freedom. It’s as if we long for something concrete rather than embracing the truth.
The Message puts it so well: 17All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.
Why would one accept shadows when the real thing is right in front of you? It sounds stupid! And it’s the same with all those laws and festivals that take the place of our freedom in Christ.
We must take care not to fall back on rituals and laws, forgetting the One it is all about. That habit of going to church on Sunday – is it about the message, the praise and worship, the other people, or is about a meeting with God?
Getting up in the morning and spending time with God – is it just a good habit, or is it about being intimate with God?
I ask myself these questions: When I get up at 05:00 in the morning, what am I focused on? Is it about writing a Bible study, or is it about meeting God? Tradition turns into rules so easily and then rules become like the shadow of God, and eventually we forget God.
Without realising it, we get caught in the prison of rules and laws and then it is no longer a joy to practise our religion. We can’t enjoy life with all that heavy baggage we drag along. The devil knows this too and that is why he pressurises us to change the things we do into laws. Watch out for that.
If you oversleep one morning and don’t have time to meet with God, don’t beat yourself up about it. If one day suddenly you simply wish to spend time with your family, do not have a spiritual meltdown. If this happens, it may have become a habit. God will not punish you for it. If such actions have become legalistic, the negative experiences will cause you to slip up once or twice.
Jesus has freed you. He broke the chains of the laws. Do not allow laws to control you. Worship God only. Rather build an intimate relationship with God. In such a relationship God will show you how and where you can enjoy life in all its freedom with all the joy that goes with that!
Is the shadow more important to you than God Himself?
Has it become a law?
Does it take away some of your freedom and joy?
Father, Thank you for your grace and for the freedom that came to us through Jesus. Keeping laws and festivals could not free us from the hold that sin had on us, but Jesus coming to earth freed us from the burden that sin put on us. Please help us to live in obedience to You as free people. Amen.