Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm Not Trying to Hurt You, I'm trying to Help You!

In John 8:36, Christ says, "So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." In Galatians 5:1, Paul writes, "For freedom Christ has set us free." The Gospel frees us FROM guilt, shame, self-condemnation and frees us FOR the abundant life! God has a Father's heart toward us that only desires our why do so many followers of Christ see God as a stern Task-Master and the Christian life as oppressive?

God seems "bewildered," if it were possible, by our thoughts and feelings of oppression: In Jeremiah He says, "Why then do my people say, 'We are free, we will come no more to You?'" (Jer 2:31). God is "grieved" and "bewildered" that His people would rejoice in being "freed" from Him and His ways!

When we see God as oppressive or a Task-Master, it is as if, as Paul writes in Galatians 3:1, that someone has cast a hex on us, or put us under a spell. If we forget the good news of the Gospel of grace, we may misinterpret God's heart in His commands and prohibitions: we may feel as if God is some sort of Cosmic Killjoy. But if we keep the Beauty of Christ and God's Fatherly heart always before our eyes, we will remember that ALL God's commands are an invitation to our highest pleasure; and ALL His prohibitions a warning against our worst nightmares.

Any parent who has ever grieved the foolishness of their own children as they make poor decisions leading to painful consequences, can have great insight into the true heart of our Father in heaven.

I'm reminded of the scene in the Lord of the Rings, when Gandalf is warning Bilbo that he must give up the ring...but the ring exerts its evil influence over Bilbo and he goes a little "mad" and accuses Gandalf of only wanting the ring for himself. Gandalf reveals a little of his "glory" and grows "loud" and thunders, "I'm not trying to hurt you, I'm trying to help you!" Bilbo is brought back to reality and runs into Gandalf's arms...that is the picture we must have of our Father in heaven. His heart toward us is good...all the time.

If the Christian life has become oppressive, we've lost focus of the Fatherly heart of God. If the Son sets you FREE, you are FREE indeed!!

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