I am learning so much about the truth of all that Christ Jesus is ... and is doing.
So many Christians think that we need to "goad ourselves" to achieve our goals, or to live this life.
I was one of them, and I was taugh to live this way.
Jesus was not mincing words or simply saying something nice when He declared:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6)
Jesus is our life.
He is living in us and through us.
He propels us, and He guides us, by the power of His Holy Spirit:
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)
For the longest time, though, many of us still feel goaded by the law, by commandments, by condemnation!
Yet we are not called to be motivated by force, law, pressure, shame, condemnation.
We are called to walk in love:
"1Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Ephesians 5:1-2)
God wants us motivated by His LOVE, not by His Love. God our Loving Father does not want to goad us with the law, but He wants us to grow and go in His Love:
"We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
What has changed for me, and has helped me to grow and go in His Love is the ever-increasing revelation that His love is a rich and present, never-ending, always-flowing constant!
His presence, His pre-eminence in my life does not go away just because I am feeling bad, or have bad thoughts, or even when I do bad things.
For the last two weeks, I have felt a great and growing freedom in my life. I am not supposed to answer, contend, fight with every bad thought that goes through my mind. Those thoughts are not even my thoughts, but rather the fiery darts of the Enemy. They come from the outside, so I should not internalize them inside. Why should I take offense or responsibility for thoughts that are not mine.
But then I still have some lingering premonitions of past wrongs, and I knew that those thoughts were not mine, but the fiery dart sting would still linger sometimes.
I then learned that bad thoughts have no place in my mind, at all. I do not have to entertain them. Paul exhorts us to think on things lovely (Philippians 4:8)
But now something more has been revealed to me this morning. For practical reasons, I would allow myself to fall into condemnation, to allow bad thoughts and senses of guilt and shame to goad me. Why? Because I felt that that sense of shame, guilt, and condemnation were the only ones that I would be motivated to get anything done!
Kind of like in this allegory which Paul shared to the Galatians:
"23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3:23-25)
The term "schoolmaster" refers to an older tutor who would walk with the students to get to class. However, he was not just some companion, but was in fact quite rough and would deal harshly with children to ensure that they stayed on track to get to class.
Sadly, so many people in the body of Christ that that kind of rough treatment is precisely what is needed. Why did I believe this? Why did my parents believe this? Because they did not see the vibrant, flowing, never-ending, ever-enriching love of God flowing in and around them.
Today, I recognize that I was goading myself with shame because I felt that I needed those "reminders" to stay alert and watch out for myself. Today, I understand the fullness of walking by faith, which means that I see Him taking care of me every step of the way, every day!
THANK YOU, JESUS!