Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? Acts 15:10 ESV.
We live in a country of doers. Whether in business, sports, or entertainment, we live in a culture that has trained us to work hard toward a prize. The concept of receiving something for nothing is against most of our puritan upbringing. There is “no such thing as a free lunch” has been ingrained within us from our youth.
There are basically three ways we can receive anything: work for it, receive it as a gift, or steal it. Capitalism teaches one to work for it. Philanthropy opens the door for gift giving. And Satan pushes the concept that stealing is justifiable.
The concept of grace goes against capitalism. In capitalism, you work hard to receive your reward. Nothing comes free. There is a price to pay for everything. It may cost you money, health, or relationships, but the end result is going to be the prize you seek.
The concept of stealing because you deserve it or want it is the reason God had to include it in one of the ten commandments he gave to Moses so the Israel nation may learn how to prosper as a community. I am still amazed at the many ways the human mind can justify harming anyone else for its own gratification.
The concept of giving however goes against the grain of working or stealing. Giving has to do more with others than with the self. Working and stealing is more about pleasing me and less about satisfying others.
When it comes living life the way God intended it to be from the beginning, grace abounds rather than law living. Adam and Eve didn’t live under a multitude of do’s and don’ts. They had only one “do not” and one generally prime “to do.” Do not eat from that one tree of knowledge of good and evil was the one “do not.” Manage the garden was the “to do.” Life couldn’t be more simpler.
Ever notice how people go from one extreme to another when correcting a problem? From the error in judgment at the garden, to Jesus’s time period when 616 statues directed a person’s way of life, we have gone from the simple to the complex. People have become more focused on performance rather than abiding. The religious goal was to work at climbing the “do and do not” list to lift oneself up closer to God. Instead of our relationship with God becoming a place of joy and celebration, it became a job and duty to perform.
When the apostles finally came together in Jerusalem to discuss whether or not the gentiles must keep the Jewish Law(s), the disagreement between Jewish and Gentile followers was strong. However at this council meeting, the decision to let the Gentiles live outside the Jewish law won out. Today we may still agree with the outcome but we sometimes fall back into the religious trappings of living under the performance mode rather than the grace-filled life that God created us to experience.
Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. God doesn’t expect us to work our way to him. Instead He made a way through Jesus Christ. Jesus saves us and has poured out His grace upon us all. We only have to accept it. When we do and begin abiding in Him, we become the recipient of living under the umbrella of God’s fatherly favor. As a child of his, he likes to spoil us in ways we don’t yet fully understand. But one day we will. Until then, quit playing religion. Ask our heavenly God to open the doors of heaven so you may experience life the way he originally intended for all of us. As he stated and is now written in Matthew 11: 28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Rooting For You in Christ!
Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married
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