Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Running because of freedom

Students here at Rockbridge have been practicing how to share the good news (gospel) by taking their peers through “proxe stations” which are simply interactive ways for people to experience both their need for Christ and the hope that He offers.

One student took someone through a station called Extreme Heart Makeover, which basically gives the chance for people to identify areas in their heart that, if given the chance, they would like remade – things like anger, pride, selfishness, etc. As the participant marked several heart areas that they wished were different, my student told them, in a nutshell, that the answer is for them to ask forgiveness, repent, and try harder to not do those things.

On hearing this, my firsts reaction was frustration, because “trying harder to not do bad things” is not really the heart of the good news. The gospel tells us that we are unable to do good, unable to remake our hearts, apart from Christ, and that God has freely given us the forgiveness to begin again and the power to walk in new ways as we trust His life in us. I cringe when people reduce following Jesus to “trying harder” or “doing better.”

But as we prayed for this student and I thought about the anger and the heaviness that I sensed in her, I realized that she must believe that her righteousness is based on her performance and that her fear of moral failure must mute her experience of  the power and presence of God’s love for her.

And God brought to mind one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Psalm 199:32 – “I run in the paths of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” My prayer for her, and for myself, became a plea for God to lead us to an obedience that stems from an experience of His love and goodness. Running in His commands because of  freedom, not in hope of attaining it.


Nichole said...

I was thinking on this very thing this morning. I struggle in this area and can relate to this girl. It's definitely a lie we believe, one I know I learned from painful childhood,(how can the Father love us if an earthly parent couldn't, we must have not been good enough, not worked hard enough) it can run deep. I am so glad God gave you the compassionate response in your prayers for her. It reminded me of something you said in an earlier post “Instead, the fruit simply comes as a course of nature as long as the branches stay connected to the vine". Wow lots of wisdom in your posts, thanks for praying that she stay connected to the vine.

Macon said...

Run, Marsh. Run!