Finding the Balance

‘We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.’ [1 Timothy 1:8 NIV]

Image by Kostya Kisleyko

Image by Kostya Kisleyko

This verse stood out to me when I was reading my Bible last week. It reminded me of what we say about many things in life when used properly. For example a nail gun. When used properly this tool is very helpful, but if not, it can be downright dangerous.

So then, the law, if not used properly can be dangerous too? Or at the least detrimental? It made me think and reflect on different Scriptures.

The law, when adhered to stringently, can be binding. We can become so inflexible on rules and regulations that we lose sight of grace. We become unbending and judgmental to those around us.

On the other hand, if we become too liberal, taking advantage of the grace offered us through Christ’s death on the cross, we disrespect all that He has done for us. As it says in Hebrews 10, ‘If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.’

Therefore, it seems we must find a balance — use the law properly. The law must be written on our heart as a high standard we aspire to, though with the knowledge that if we fail from time to time, we are covered by the grace wrought on the cross. Neither living in condemnation nor without any self-control or discipline. The law, when used properly serves to protect us and help us be the best we can be.

Where are you today? On the legalistic, judgmental side, or too liberal with your morality, or have you found the right balance?

Published in: on 24th June, 2013 at 10:52 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Avoiding Extremes

“Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—why destroy yourself?
 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time?
 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.
 Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.” [Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 NIV]

I find this verse very interesting. We have seen that God requires us to be holy as He is holy (see Leviticus 19:2), yet this verse seems to tell us not to try too hard. In the New Testament we are exhorted to aim for perfection. Jesus set the standard high when He said that keeping anger in our hearts was akin to murder, among other things. But, this verse tells us to avoid extremes. So then, is this a contradiction?

I don’t think so. Rather it is a reminder for us to not get caught under condemnation, to remember the grace of our Lord Jesus. Yes, we must do our best to be righteous and holy, but not to the point that it destroys us with fear of hellfire and brimstone.

It is a warning against legalism, a habit that humankind seem so easily to fall into. ‘If I don’t do this, the Lord will not accept me.’ Or, ‘this is happening to me because I failed.’ This kind of thinking binds us into slavery to works and will just wear us out with our trying.

We need to live in the freedom that grace provides. When we do fail, know that God loves us still. When we make mistakes, He is not waiting to punish us, but to show us a new way forward, to learn and grow from it.

Do you ever find yourself trying too hard, putting pressure on yourself to perform for His acceptance?

Published in: on 26th June, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,