Out of Compulsion

To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.  All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighted by the Lord.     Proverbs 16:1-2

Because I must — this is the reason for living life that is owned by the law.  Living the life of do’s and don’ts is nothing more than bouncing off the walls of legalism, submitting to the equating of good and evil against the righteous and the damned.  But remember?  Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).

Answering the question of why sparks the truest and purest of self-reflection and dissection of the heart.  Identifying the climate of one’s soul in the often muddied waters of life can stir the most meaningful glimpse of presumption.  It’s knowing the root of behavior and getting to the bottom of purpose.  It’s when a man can look in the mirror and see beyond the scruff, beyond the tangle, beyond the age and see deep within his soul to witness the heart of Christ dwelling; then choosing to rest in the assurance, not presumption, that the purpose for his life is not spent out of the compulsion to obey the law, but to serve his risen Savior!

Martin Luther examines the essence of what one sees looking to the law instead of looking into the heart:

Presumption follows when a man sets himself to fulfill the Law with works and diligently sees to it that he does what the letter of the Law asks him to do. He serves God, does not swear, honors father and mother, does not kill, does not commit adultery, and the like. Meanwhile, however, he does not observe his heart, does not note the reason why he is leading such a good life. He does not see that he is merely covering the old hypocrite in his heart with such a beautiful life. For, if he looked at himself aright-at his own heart-he would discover that he is doing all these things with dislike and out of compulsion; that he fears hell or seeks heaven, if not also for more insignificant matters: honor, goods, health; and that he is motivated by the fear of shame or harm or diseases. In short, he would have to confess that he would rather lead a different life if the consequence of such a life did not deter him; for he would not do it merely for the sake of the Law. But because he does not see this bad reason, he lives on in security, looks only at the works, not into the heart, and so assumes that he is keeping the Law of God well. (Luther’s Works, St. Louis edition, 11:81 ff)

Listening to the Law instead of the health of my heart leads me to replace one mask with another.  Determining and defining the purpose, my motivation to enter into a period of waiting so that God can transform me from within ushers in an inquisitive emotion of soul searching.  It’s a time to ask questions:  What’s important?  What matters?  Whom shall I serve?  What shall I obey?  Why?

It’s a deep place to camp, a scary place to visit.  I’m reminded of Elijah being sent to the ravine to wait.  No questions asked, no purpose given.  He was told to wait, drink from the brook and the ravens would bring him food.  He had no idea how long this would be nor did he know where he would go from there.  But the one thing he did know was that since God said it, God promised it and God was in control — his purpose was then to only obey and trust that what He said would be fulfilled.  And scripture says, “and so he did.”

Lord Jesus, may my motives, my desire be that which comes from my heart and not from obligation.  You are my Savior, to you I belong!  The sincerity of my heart weighs only as much as my trust in you!  I choose you!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.    Romans 8:1-2

 

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Filed under Belief, Christian Living, Faith, Grace, In Christ, Trust

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