Interesting that this was the verse of the day at King James online, as it is actually a post idea I had a few days ago. I try to, as things come up, make a list of possible topics. This was one I had, but had not yet started to work on, but today, here it is, so it seems God would like me to ponder on this a bit.
I remember when I was younger my parents would have rules. Well, being a child that wanted to do something, I would at times, see how far I could bend rules without breaking them. I suspect most have done this as well. A while back I saw a picture someone posted somewhere on the internet of a young boy that was lying on the floor, right at the edge of the area where the kitchen tile met the living room carpet. He had some food, bowl of cereal or something, and a small video game. When my kids were little it would have been a Game boy, but this was something different. But, his mom had commented that she didn’t know if she should be angry or impressed. Kids get creative. But, she had told him no eating in the living room and no video games in the kitchen. Well, he was complying, he was eating in the kitchen and he did not take the video game into the kitchen. While pretty clever, he did comply with the letter of law. He did not break any rules. But, the intent was not met. She didn’t want him eating and playing a video game. Perhaps she should have been more strict with the rules, more detailed, but she did not say that specifically, so he wasn’t wrong, although I imagine deep inside, he knew very well he was not doing what she wanted. Another picture I saw showed a child lying on the porch with his feet just inside the patio door and the rest of his body was outside. She had told him not to set his feet outside until his room was cleaned. Well, there he was, following the letter of the law, no feet outside, but he was otherwise outdoors and had not done his chores. Yeah, kids are clever and creative. But, they are not the only ones that like to follow the letter, not the intent.
As the verse states, we are free from the laws, in this case the laws of the old testament. We don’t have to worship like they did in the past. No sacrifices, no strict rules on clean or unclean foods and all the other laws that were given from God. The old laws are gone. Although, many of them are still valid and we should follow them, like the 10 Commandments for example. We are expected now to live in the Holy Spirit. If one does so, then we rarely fail to meet the important Laws of the Old Testament.
We have new laws, to seek Christ, to love and forgive, to give testimony of Jesus to others, we will lay aside anger. I have seen many times how people like to follow the letter of the new law we were given. They will seek Christ, they will seek forgive, they lay aside anger; but often things are conditional. If they get angry, they want to have a fit first, then lay aside the anger. If they feel they were done wrong in some way, they want to lash out first, then after done they will forgive, if angered for some reason they will hate first and when done hating, love. That is not what Jesus wants of us. He wants us to seek Christ, seek the Holy Spirit, before we get angry and lash out, before we feel hate or harsh feelings. The letter of the law is met when people do finally forgive and love, but the intent is that they seek Him first, then they would not lash out, verbally, physically, sometimes mentally. I have been upset about this or that thing. I may not have struck anyone, or called names, hollered at, chastised, berated or any other way showed outward signs of anger. But, many times, I had those feelings inside. The “Well, if I wasn’t trying to live for Christ I would tell you……” Whatever things one would say, “EXCEPT.” I have at times lashed out with words, yeah, when a child I lashed out physically, at others but as I got older, realized I just wasn’t that good of a fighter and not wishing to deal with a bloody nose or black eye, I just internalized the feelings and thoughts. Guess what. THAT AINT WHAT CHRIST WANTS!!!
He wants us to seek HIM and to love and forgive those we think did us wrong, before we become angry. Sometimes, often in fact, when I would start to get angry about something, say something harsh, blame someone for something, using one of my tools and not put it back where it belongs for example, then as I went to whatever project I would find the tool, right where I had left it. I blamed others for something of which they were not guilty. Yet, they had suffered the punishment for it already. Then, if I try to be right, have to eat crow and say, “umm, yeah, sorry I hollered, guess the tool was where I had left it.” But, had I sought Christ first, He would have told me not to get angry or act hateful, He would have softened my heart and saved me some embarrassment to boot.
Well, anyway, that’s the way it seems to me. When I was a child, the rules were more strict, more detailed and as I grew the rules were a little more vague and not as detailed. Not because I wasn’t expected to follow the rules, but because I was expected to understand the intent. I did not have a set time to be home, just told don’t be out too late. And, if out later than I should have been and I was fussed at for it, I would say, “It isn’t that late I stay out a lot later on weekends.” Regardless of the actual time, all the while knowing I had stayed out too late and would not be able to get enough sleep before school the next day. I had followed, sort of, the letter of the law but not the intent.
Old laws are gone, but new laws are in place. The new laws aren’t as detailed. He expects us to know in our hearts what is right and that He should be able to expect us to do what Christ wants us to do. When I have not followed the new laws, I knew when I wasn’t doing as He wants by getting angry first but justified myself by doing what He says by forgiving later. I wish I could say I always do exactly as He wants but unfortunately, sometimes (More often than I should) I let my human self get in the way, I get angry, lash out for perceived wrongs, then forgive. No, I need to seek Him first, forgive before I get angry and act out, or even if I don’t say or do anything out of anger, before I have those feelings.
Lord, I praise You and worship the Holy Name of Jesus. I thank You for Your love and forgiveness. The mercies and blessings You give me. I pray that You work in my heart that I seek Christ first, that I not get angry, that I not mentally, verbally or physically lash out and that I just give the love and forgiveness You say I should. I ask you Jesus to work in the hearts and minds of loved ones that they do the same, that they seek You first before allowing anger and other negative feelings develop. I pray You work in their hearts and minds and draw them to You. Draw them closer to Christ. I ask that You continue to work on me to help me be a better Christian and a better example of Your light here on Earth.
Thanks for making it through this. I hope everyone has a blessed day and that they find a way to be a blessing to at least one other, hopefully many others, today.