The Law vs Love

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matt 22:37-40).

Did you know that there are at least 5,000 federal criminal laws, with 10,000-300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally and may carry criminal penalties? And that is just federal. As we are sitting here right this minute, we may be unknowingly breaking some kind of law or code.

Following Jesus is so much simpler, not necessarily easy, but definitely less complicated. In fact, if everyone followed the two laws outlined by Jesus, we would not need any other law. With the love in our hearts from God (the source of all love), we can turn that toward others. If we truly loved others we would never do anything that would be detrimental or harm them.

Simple, but not easy. Over and over our human nature takes the lead. Even Paul, one of the people throughout history who was most dedicated to the Lord, Jesus Christ said, “ I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

Visualizing life governed by the greatest commandment gives us a little glimpse of one little facet of eternity. Law–less, because we will all be governed by perfect love.

Safe Space

Whoever dwells in the shadow of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Ps 91:1).

 Today there is so much talk about safe spaces where people are insulated from, well, just about anything that anyone wants to define as harmful, or hurtful, or even just uncomfortable. God doesn’t offer us that kind of isolation; in fact, His word (and my experience) shows that we grow in character and holiness through adversity.

If we look to Him in trust He offers us, not a safe space, but a fortress (v2). He doesn’t remove discomfort; sometimes we need it to grow, but He promises to be with us (v15). He protects us from the enemy’s snare [what are my personal temptations] (v3); terror by night [what are my fears]; arrows that fly by day [what are my arrows]; the plague that destroys [what plagues me physically, mentally, spiritually] (v 5&6–just read Psalm 91, it’s amazing).

Thank You, Father, that You have my back, in fact, You surround me so that “evil can not conquer me and no plague can come near my tent (v10).”

Knowing God

It has been said that the Creator placed within each of us a yearning for Him. After reading a verse in Colossians, I am wondering if He placed more than a yearning, but also a knowledge of Him within each person—from the most primitive to the most sophisticated.

I’d like to examine some of these scriptures then end with one of my favorite stories about Hellen Keller. At least that’s my plan, but I am open to where the Lord leads, so be sure to read to the end.

Romans 1:20 states, for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and deity; so that they are without excuse. To me, this means that everyone should know God or at least, know about Him through the amazing things He created.

Colossians 1:22-23 says, You have been reconciled through Christ’s death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach, so continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven. My footnote says that Paul was using a hyperbole (exaggeration), but this same idea of everyone having heard the gospel (Christ’s redemptive death, burial, and resurrection) appears elsewhere.

Titus 2:11 states, for the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared (is revealed) to all men.

I would think that there are indigenous from primitive lands that have not heard the complete gospel message, but I also believe that we have an amazing God who would not leave anyone in the dark. With that lead-in, here’s my Helen Keller story as one example.

Helen was blind and deaf from the age of two. She had basically lived a life of isolation. Years later, after her teacher, Anne Sullivan, had taught her the gift of language, she thought Helen should have some spiritual knowledge as well. I have no idea how Anne explained God to Helen, but Helen’s reply is amazing. “I’ve known Him all along; I just never knew His name.”

More than Conquerors

You are so valuable that the Creator of the universe and the ruler of darkness of this world battle for you every day!! Although it is spiritual, it is still very real. Just turn on the news and you’ll see it clearly displayed. The weapons are lies and deceit vs. faith and truth.

The most powerful weapon is the word of God—speaking it, absorbing it in our heart, living it. God’s own Son battled the enemy on the mountain, not by His Godly power, but by quoting scripture, the same ammunition that is at our disposal too. It can be used defensively when we’re attacked, or offensively to fortify our heart.

I have included scriptures at the end of this entry as the start of an arsenal to repeat and claim. They’re not magical, but they are powerful:

I can’t ______………..I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength(Phil 4:13).

My life is insignificant…… I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved (Col 3:12). He has created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do all the good things He planned for me long ago (Eph 2:10).

God could never forgive my past… I am washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11).

I am afraid… When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3).

If only I was _______….I am God’s masterpiece(Eph 2:10).
Many of these were already paired by Pricilla Shirer and Nancy DeMoss, but the most meaningful are the ones we find ourselves, those that jump off the page at the exact time when we need them.

Stuff

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word. (Ps 119:37)

The older I get, the more I try to avoid desiring frivolous things or fretting over situations that don’t really matter. Although I have nowhere near a fraction of the riches or wisdom of Solomon, he realized too, the folly of worthless accumulations and meaningless experiences.

Covetousness deadens us to the real treasures that God has in store for us. Obedience to His word and the promptings of His Spirit can guide us to the satisfaction, peace, and contentment that come through relationships with others—and especially with the Father Himself.

Healing

If my people who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and heal their land. (2 Chron 7:14)

What would a “healed” land look like?

God created diversity. In this country our diversity gives us the richness of our culture. But a healthy land must also have unity. We share common bonds of humanity—needs, emotions; however if our emotions ruled us, we wouldn’t be united at all. We’d be acting selfishly and destructively, each satisfying his own needs.

We can’t heal our land by legislating kindness or righteousness. We couldn’t even come to a consensus of what “good” means.

God gives us the answer in this verse. We have to park our own egos, pray, and seek His face, then listen to His voice in our hearts, telling us what to do and what to turn from.

I hesitated inserting this often-quoted verse in the conversation, but my heart hurts because of the division in our country. The solution to healing our land doesn’t lie in any person, or even any system, but we can trust the Creator Who has given us the formula for how to fix it.