Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Spirit of the Law

Nothing is more stressful than LA traffic in the morning. And there is no greater place to learn spiritual lessons such as patience and grace than the 134 or the 5 at 8 a.m. This week was no exception. I pulled onto the second of six lanes on the 405 going north bound to the hospital the other morning, ramped up my speed to a cruising 72 miles per hour. Other work travelers whizzed by me on the left and right, happily flying on clear lanes. All of a sudden, I started seeing break lights and lane changes in front of me. Up ahead, a police officer had pulled into traffic. The morning commuters quickly changed their frantic 80 mile and hour road rage into a law abiding 65 mile and hour parade...A parade that obediently followed at a cautious distance behind the police officer. It was obviously that the cop wasn't patrolling, just trying to get to work. He had his foot on the gas, going from 68-75...and so did his little duckling group of cars. It was fascinating to watch, really. All the cars around were matching his speed, never going faster or attempting to pass. And then the one came on the road. A white pick up truck. He was on a mission and didn't care who was on the road. He played the game for a while, eyeballing the cop and determining what he was up to. And then he did what no one else had the courage to do. He passed the patrol car on the left going at least 76.

I started thinking about it. How often do we as Christians play this same game in the church? We think God is out there like a great cop, with these rules and laws that are meant to impede us from getting where we're going. We follow behind them out of fear and obligation, thinking if we break the rules and laws he is going to punish us or spoil our fun, or worse give us a ticket that well have to pay for.

God is not a great punisher. Yes, He disciplines us, but like a father disciplines a child, for protection and growth and good. But discipline and punishment are not the same thing. The rules in His book are not to steal our joy or keep us from getting where we're going. He sent his son to give us freedom and life abundantly. Some times we just need to shift gears our mindset.