God's Law

I've been so consumed with my new Rodan + Fields business lately, I've been neglecting my first love!  I sat down at the table this morning with my coffee and my Bible, and opened to Romans.  I haven't read Romans in ages.  I went to a women's study on Romans a few years ago - we literally spent a year and a half poring over and dissecting the book, and I guess I wasn't in the mood to read it again for a while :-)  I'd forgotten how beautiful and refreshing Romans is.

As I read chapter 3, I was brought back in time to a rather...ahem...lively debate I had with my study leader about 6 years ago.  I was still searching, and hadn't really come to a genuine place of humility and submission to God.  Oh boy.  I'm so thankful for His mercy and grace!  Now that I know Him the way I do, it seems positively absurd that I ever stood upright in His holy presence!

To put it mildly, I had issues with His law.  My teacher tried to explain that the law is perfect because it's an expression of a perfect God.  I barely heard her because all I could think was,

"This stupid law!  It can't be right!  How can God really expect all of this of me?!  If He didn't judge me against this ridiculous law, I'd be just fine.  I'm a good person and I do my best.  Sure, by Biblical standards I'm a sinner.  But why would a loving God make a law so impossible to follow?  Even if I want to do it perfectly, I can't.  Surely my heartfelt efforts will tip the scales in my favor?  In fact...you know what?....God is expecting something unreasonable of me.  He defines the word "sinner" by these standards - HE'S being unreasonable.  It's HIS fault that I can't measure up because He set the bar impossibly high!"

To some people reading this, they're probably thinking something like "wow - lucky He didn't strike you dead!"  This post will probably bore you.

For many others though, they're probably thinking something like "yeah, that's exactly how I feel!" Believe me, I get how you feel.

But now, I also understand what my teacher was trying to tell me all those years ago.

The first step to understanding why the law is so impossible, is to ignore for a moment it's impact on me and my life.  If I do that, I can think a little more clearly because I'm not taking it personally.

It's sort of like observing the sun.  If I look at it and think to myself, "It's too bright, I can't look at it!  It's too hot, I can hardly stand the heat at noon!  And look, it burns me if I stay in it's light too long.  That stupid sun!"

But if I remove myself from the equation and simply observe, my thoughts go more like "Wow, that sun is bright.  And hot.  And so powerful!"  Do you see the difference?

So let's do that with God's law.  Ignore for a moment what it means to you and your life and simply observe.

God's law is perfect.
God's law is consuming.
God's law is impossible.
God's law is overwhelming.

Okay, now let's put some thought into the "whys" of the thing we're observing.  Back to the sun example - the sun is bright and hot and powerful because it's a star.  It's literally a big ball of fire.  And it's a good thing it is the way it is because it is exactly what our planet needs to sustain life.

Now for the law - the law is perfect and consuming and impossible and overwhelming because it is an expression of who God is.  God is perfect, consuming, impossible (for us to understand), and overwhelming.  By observing this thing that God gave us, we can know more about God.

Alright, NOW it's time to put ourselves back into the equation.  Back to the sun again - the sun is bright and hot and powerful - what does that mean to us?  Well, it means that we wear sunscreen.  It means that we take shelter when it's at it's hottest.  It also means that we wouldn't want to change it even if we could because it gives us life!

Now for God's law.  God's law sheds light on who God is, and in turn, it sheds light on who we are compared to Him.  I like to think of it as a sort of heavenly ruler...it's a tool that we can use to compare ourselves to God - to better understand who we are and who God is.  Changing the law would do nothing to change who God is....it would simply diminish the effectiveness of this tool as it's used in our lives.

Changing the law to make life easier for us would only make it harder for us to know God.

It just so happens that when we compare ourselves to God using this "ruler of law", we find that there's no way for us to "measure up".  It also just so happens that the shortcoming we observe when we measure our lives and hearts against God's law...that shortcoming is called "sin".

"for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20b

We find ourselves in this place of, "okay, what do I do now?"

NOW we're talking!  NOW we find that this is the place that God has been lovingly guiding us to all along!

Does God want us to feel terrible about ourselves?  Well, yes...but only for the briefest of moments.  In fact, it's not that He wants us to feel lousy, it more like He wants us to realize that we need His help.  In our moment of despair and hopelessness, we have the option to grab His hand so he can be our Lord and God.  And now, now that we see better who He is and who we are, we can have a real and honest relationship with Him.

Back to the Law - do we just ignore it if it's impossible to follow? It all depends on your heart toward God.  If you're trying your very best to live according to the law because you still think you can do it and you think you can impress God or earn your way into His favor...then yes, you might as well ignore the Law all together.

But if you are pursuing a righteous life because you love a righteous God and are living for His pleasure and so that He can do His work through you....then your efforts are based in Truth.  Your efforts, although they still come from a sinful human, will bear real and lasting fruit because God Himself will move through your humble heart and actions.

It's God working through us that gives us incredible freedom in Christ.  It's God working through us that gives us impossible joy.  It's God working through us that gives us hope and meaning to this mortal life.

I pray that this next year, you (you know who you are!) will see the law not only as something that makes you feel lousy about yourself or that makes you feel discouraged...but as a glimpse of a real and living God.  A God who loves you.  Sit for a moment in the realization that God is perfect and you are not, and then turn to Him and say "Help!".  He will help you.  He will save you.  He will give you hope and joy.

PS.  If you decide that you want to grab God's hand, but don't know how, contact me and I'll help you

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