As I was talking to my husband about this upcoming post, he gave such a great analogy regarding this particular subject. He said when he is aiming at a target downrange if you are just a little off it will impact your ability to hit the target. It may not seem like you are off that much yet as the bullet travels away from the gun the trajectory which started just a little off will make a big difference downrange. How far off have you been or are you now about your view of God? How far off are your core values to His? It again points to the starting point which is how you view God that allows a direct hit of a target downrange.
For so long I held on to a belief system that I had to prove myself worthy of God’s love. I didn’t realize that I said one thing-“God loves me!” while at the same time deep within myself believing I had to do everything right to keep His love. This is a wrong core value or starting point. This way of thinking sent me hitting targets like: I am not good enough, I will never be good enough, I hate myself because I can’t get it right, God hates me, the whole world hates me because if God hates me then how in the world could I love myself much less anyone else. I just NEVER could perform in excellence like….well…..Jesus did. I was told I must emulate Jesus in every way and I found myself lacking…day after day. Now WHAT!?!?!!! I didn’t give up on God….but I believe we see a generation that quite frankly….IS. Why are they? I believe because they are starting at the wrong starting point with their view of God.
In my last post, It Truly Can’t Get Any Better, I promised to write about the “law of liberty” found in James. It is important we have the correct view of God to fully understand this concept “law of liberty”. Many in the church see this “law” as “right behavior”–“Do this, but don’t do that!”. Yet, early Christians understood this to mean something completely different…..or maybe they just started at the right starting point. Let’s dig into the words here (info comes from biblehub.com):
Law-Nomos (3551)-This word must be taken in context to understand what law is being talked about….I can hear my English teacher: context, context, context!!! The law regarding the Christian faith is used only 4 times in scripture: Roman 3:27 Law of faith; Galatians 6:2 Law of love; and James 1:25 and James 2:12 Law of “liberty”.
Liberty-Eluthria (1657)-“Freedom, liberty, a state of freedom from slavery”. Freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by FREE IMPULSE of the SOUL what the will of God requires. There is a note in biblehub.com it states see Epistle of Barnabas 2,6. Which led me to the Epistle…which in turn led me to the scripture in Psalms 51:
As I meditated on this scripture and the meaning of the “Law of Liberty”, I distinctly heard the Lord say to me:
“A Humble Heart is required when you become a Christian to even accept such a free gift; it continues to take a Humble Heart to run the race and realize it is not about you—your behavior or your “goodness” but about Me, My behavior and Goodness.”
That was so good to hear and yet I knew there was more He wanted to articulate to me. And of course it came….I needed to understand the word HUMILITY.
Now let’s look at HUMILITY in the Greek:
(a noun, derived from 5011 /tapeinós, “low, humble” and 5424 /phrḗn, “moderation as regulated by inner perspective”) – properly, low; humility, “lowliness” of human pride (self-government); that quality of mindset of “having a humble opinion of oneself, i.e. a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness – i.e. lowliness of mind” (J. Thayer). In Scripture, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“lowliness, humility”) is an inside-out virtue. produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord (rather than to others)… For the believer, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“humility”) means living in complete dependence on the Lord, i.e. with no reliance on self (the flesh). The word occurs neither in the O. T., nor in secular authors.
I have written a little about this in, It’s an Inside Job. When we compare ourselves to Christ we will always fall short. In this, we realize we need a Savior and must always rely on His Finished Work and the Holy Spirit working inside us; not our own ability (self/flesh) that produces any “right behavior”. This is humility, as a Christian: realizing it isn’t your ability that is creating any right behavior but His Spirit in you changing you from the inside out. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) Free from the carnal desires of the old corrupt self. Simply live from that truth. Remember the word “liberty” in Greek means our soul, because of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us and He sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, will by FREE IMPULSE do what the will of God is and we are free, no longer slaves, to our old corrupt desires. This is the truth, the fact that we live from. This is what James is telling people. He says, “Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free.” (James 2:12) We, in truth or in fact, live from the place of freedom from our old nature. It is dead and we now live as a new creation, alive with the Holy Spirit within us. Are we perfect, NO of course not—Jesus was and is the ONLY PERFECT SACRIFICE.
For me to hit the bulls eye downrange I needed to start at the right point. The starting point is simple: God loves me no matter what before I was a Christian and after I accept His free gift. This is Grace. I used to believe God loved me before I was a Christian but now that I am a Christian I have to earn His love, favor and protection. See this slight difference makes a HUGE difference downrange. This wrong starting point puts me back under a law that I was never intended to be able to perform.
I also came to better understand that I have complete dependence on God. Yet even that understanding had to come from the right starting point. I finally realized I can not make myself behave or do right…..but He changes my thinking, my actions and He does this from the inside and it naturally becomes outward actions. Do I always get it right…..no! But does He still love me and has He already paid the price for my mistakes….YES!! Do I spend hours with Him….of course I do….HE LIVES IN ME! He is there 24/7 in ME!!!!!! Do I make it a religious thing….certainly not…He told me to let go of the rules. He wanted me….all of me…flaws and beauty…the whole package. He didn’t want a robot or someone ultra religious, trying to look holy or make myself holy….He knew it was just an act…just me relying on my flesh to make myself holy. But now I understand, He truly makes me holy 100%…not because I have done everything right or performed A, B and C…..and don’t forget about D….heaven forbid I forget D…I say this in jest, but honestly that is how I used to live. No more…I live from a place of freedom. No longer a slave but a daughter of the Most High King. Holy because He is holy, Righteous because He is righteous, Fully forgiven because Jesus paid for all my sins and Saved because He rose from the dead. Simple faith that grows inside which is a free gift from God that I receive. According to Psalm 51:16-17, He does not want us going through the motions or a flawless performance….yet He does desire broken pride and a shattered heart. Humility is the opposite of pride. It took humility to realize I needed saving and righteousness in the first place. It takes humility to realize Jesus is the only One Who paid the price to give to the world salvation and righteousness. Humility must remain after we accept the free gift because that is the place we live from knowing that it isn’t us that changes our inward parts but God through His Spirit in us……that is GRACE.