A few months ago (when coronavirus was something happening in China – maybe Italy – ag shame) a woman I’d never met approached me to tell me she and her boyfriend were having sex, and did I think this was ok? Because, she said, ‘We’re more on the grace side of things – and not so much on the law side of things.’
I said, as gently as possible, that being on the grace side of things – as anyone who knows Jesus absolutely must be – doesn’t mean we don’t obey God. It means we obey God even more. Even more passionately. Even more gratefully. Even more joyfully. We know Him, and so we trust – even more! – that as the Designer of human life and love, He has excellent, holy reasons for the instructions He issues in the User Manual.
I said, God’s laws are never to oppress us. They’re always to keep us safe, and set us free.
His commands are not to lock us down, but to lift us up.
‘Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?’
I’m all about freedom.
If someone asks me, ‘What does the gospel mean to you?’ I always say, ‘Freedom.’
Freedom from sin and its entanglements.
Freedom from the hopelessness of law-keeping to earn favour.
Freedom from the tyranny of people’s opinions because the voice of the Father sings out truth, identity and calling over my life.
Freedom to keep on approaching the throne of grace with my fear and my failures, my sin and my sickness, and finding every time, more freedom.
So in our country’s – the world’s – current state, I’m grappling for meaning, because I don’t feel free. I feel trapped. And tides of anger have welled up and washed right over me.
One moment I’m angry with people who are taking this thing ridiculously too seriously. The next moment I’m angry with people who aren’t taking it seriously enough. I’ve been angry about the rules. I’ve been angry about people breaking the rules.
But clarity and calm have come, as they always do, from God’s Word. And with them, freedom.
‘For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority – whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed… It is God’s will that your honourable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.’
It doesn’t say, ‘Always agree with governing authorities.’
If you have legal recourse to speak truth to power: do so, with dignity.
But so long as laws don’t contravene Scripture, we can obey peacefully and fearlessly, because our King – the One who holds together the universe and our lives – sits on a throne above every other power and police force.
And when the restrictions seem illogical, contradictory, unfair and unnecessary – when we’re suffering unjustly, *like Jesus did* – when others are laughing all the way to the braai and getting away with it – leave your case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly – *like Jesus did*.
If you’ve got kids, you need to know that home schooling in this season is going way beyond Google Classroom and Purple Mash. Our kids are watching, and learning. Our 9-year-old was invited to a play date this week. He said, ‘But mom, isn’t that illegal?’
Yip. Well then.
I desperately, desperately, want play dates. For my boys. FOR ME.
But I also want to have two strong legs to stand on, if or when something illicit rears its unlawful head in the lives of my kids. I want to be able to say, ‘But boy, isn’t that illegal?’
Yip. Well then.
This is a tough time, mostly because we don’t have an end-date to wrap our heads around. And it already feels too long, right?
But in the whole spectrum of life and eternity, this is a blip. We’ll be ok. Our kids will be ok. God is fortifying things in our faith and our families that will mark us forever. And that is freakin’ glorious.
So friend, please don’t give up. Please don’t stop obeying God passionately, gratefully, joyfully. Please don’t stop trusting Him, even more than ever before.
No matter how cray-cray the world is right now – no matter how many freedoms you’re being denied – the Son has set you free, and you are free indeed.
. . .
May you know the freedom of Jesus this weekend in fresh, astounding ways. And HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, fellow moms!
Feel FREE to share this post with a friend who feels trapped.
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