Throw out your rule book.
Just tear it up and burn it like an ex-boyfriend’s photograph. Yep. I said that.
You see, I grew up following rules. It was just what you did. Well, not always cause I was a bit of a rebel… but overall I felt if I just obeyed what I was told I would be awesome. I thought I was somehow better than others if I could just obey the rules, didn’t do this or that. It would make me “perfect” or “righteous” or “good enough”, but at the same time no matter what I did I still didn’t feel good enough or that I had done enough.
It wasn’t until I was twenty-something that I threw away the rule book, gutted myself of my own good deeds and started over…
One day I read something that I probably read a million times before, but this time it was different. I read…
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Basically, we are made the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. Period. So, in that moment I realized that I am not a “wretch” or a “sinner” as had been drilled into my cranium for years. In fact, righteousness was a gift just like salvation. Freely given by Christ upon the cross. Not because of anything I did.
Now, just sit there for a moment… let it blow your mind.
Right, I know what you are thinking… “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. It saved a wretch like me.” We all know the song, we all love the song… but don’t stay in that moment of salvation… receive it, let it wash over you and then get your new name. No longer sinner, but saint.
During this mind numbing and cranium melting experience I also read this…
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 (KJV)
Romans 8 blows my mind. The entire chapter. Literally. Because when you first read it you are seeing a battle between “flesh” and “spirit” and it’s like okay who can keep up with this! It’s worse that watching George St-Pierre in a UFC fight when you are screaming at the television… Get up! Fight like a man! Stop the wrestling! Knock somebody out!
So goes the chapter, until you realize something. In Christ, you have been made free from the law of sin, you have been made free from the “flesh”. You have been liberated to walk in the Spirit of Christ. He is your Righteousness. Just read the whole thing, Chapter 8, from your new position, your new perspective and it will read a lot different than the first time.
Finally, if you continue to read Romans, as your face gets melted off with God’s goodness, you will bump into to this glorious nugget.
“For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.” Romans 10:4 (NLT)
Finished. Drop the mic and walk off stage.
All my works and my rule abiding and my good citizenship award, mean nothing. The laws and rules I tried so hard to follow, but kept falling short of were fulfilled. Meaning one person, did it all. He was the master at obeying the rules, so much that he broke them in half! Shattered them with his awesomeness and then tucked us up inside and said, I did it for them. So we, as believers, are now made right or made righteous with God.
This led me to total liberation and peace.
Have you ever felt peace? Real peace. The kind that comes washing over you like a wave. Where there was anxiety and stress and bitterness and pain and shame… then in a moment there is a soothing peace like liquid honey. Just dripping over you and you stand in that moment and feel complete calm.
That’s what happened to me when I threw out my rule book.
It was 3:45 am, my eyelids were heavy and my body was not moving. I forced myself to roll out of the bed. My twin was getting married and so I had a plane to catch.
During my whirlwind of a visit to New York I had the pleasure of not only meeting some wonderful new people, but also seeing some oh-so-familiar faces. The kind of friends you fall right into pace with and it’s as if no time has passed at all. I just love those friendships. They are so cozy.
While chatting with a variety of people, one subject came up that I could not shake. Not directly… but it seemed to weave itself in and out of the conversations like a beautiful tapestry.
The gift of time, because it truly is a gift.
It’s a treasure.
When someone gives it to you… they can never get it back. It is gone. Poured out on you. Soaking into every fiber of who you are. Their time… it never belonged to you.
Time is precious. Invaluable.
There are moments, when Leaders, Pastors, Friends, or even Parents may try to look into life’s rear-view mirror and say “What If” or “I could have done more” or “How could I have done things differently” …
You gave your time… and that was enough.
When Charlie is on the road preaching, I think of our wedding vows… I think of the commitment we made to one another to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world together. 7.5 years later, 2 kids, 3 cities, 6 different homes, 9 jobs, 2 Bible Colleges, 4 years of full time ministry, countless cities and this year 22 nations reached between the two of us…. I’m sorry, but I don’t hear you when you say I CAN’T!!
With God ALL things are possible. Dare to Dream in God and watch as He brings it to life.