May 9th, 2004


Liberty and justice for all

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand—"Believe this and that"; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty—the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (6 May, "Liberty and the Standards of Jesus")

That's a different view of liberty than most want to embrace. It's a comfort to read this, because I've (again) been struggling with an avalanche of opinion. Thankfully, it's more passive than active; I rarely have people directly telling me what I ought to believe. But I do find myself wondering where and when Christ factors into the opinions of my fellow Christians, and (often in those moments) the desire to "lay down the law" is pretty strong.

Instead, I should be considering how to encourage others to remember Jesus Christ, and that needs to start in my own life. He's the benchmark. But dear Lord, Your people have been taught so poorly! We find every reason to look away from who You are and who You have declared us to be. "Jesus never spoke about that" is often our favorite dodge—invariably used to make permissible something we desire outside of Him. We silence the Holy Spirit and close up the Word as we try to narrow His person into principles and loopholes, making His life conform to ours rather than the other way around.

He alone is sovereign. The King is a Person, not a list. If I try to nudge all the things I want into His Kingdom instead of wanting His kingdom, I will persistently rebel. If I build a kingdom of opinion for myself, He must destroy it if He loves me. And if He is merciful, He will destroy it here and now rather than letting me hold onto my fantasy reign until the end, when I would cry, "Lord, Lord!," and He would bid me to depart from Him because of the truth—I never knew Him.
  • Current Music
    Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, "Would You Like to Take a Walk?"