Refreshing…back to the basics
So I recently got a new study Bible (The Quest Study Bible – NIV, if you would like to check it out). When I got it, I wanted to dig back into some heavy study that I haven’t really done in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I was spending time in the Word, but not really a lot of time in deep reflection and study. So as I sat down, I just had a real urge to study Ephesians. As I opened my new Bible, I came across Galatians (yup, just before Ephesians…go figure). As I start flipping the pages, I felt drawn to just start there, so I did. Boy am I glad I did!
What I found was a refreshing reminder of something I teach our students all the time: Christianity is not about following a set of rules, but rather is really about having a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. Over and over again through the text of the book, it mentions that justification can not be gained through the law (e.g, 2:15-16, 2:21; 3:2; 3:18; 3:24-25). This really encouraged me, as well as challenged me. Given some conflicts I’m going through, I’ve started focusing, unfortunately, on the law, rather than the relationship. As this happened, I started noticing my attitude souring, and my interactions with people being filled with more conflict and life being joyless.
What an amazing God I serve! Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me! (Psalm 23:4) A shepherd’s rod is not used to coddle his sheep, but to help keep them in line. When one starts wandering off course, the Shepherd gives a little flick and they get back. When we walk with Christ, that little flick to let us know we’re out of line is not always desired or pleasant, but it’s always accepted, and eventually appreciated. I hate being corrected, but I love the fruit of having a reconciled relationship, either with a person or with God. Thank you Jesus for not sparing me Your rod!
And for those who made it through this entire post…here’s a little video I saw the other day that I just couldn’t keep to myself. Let me just say…Prayerlattes!