This will be a short one. Because my head is filled with content, and it’s tired! And frazzled. Making time for this podcast, that show, that new Kanye West album, that friend who wants to meet for coffee and also, for myself. I’m trying to juggle and balance all these opinions, while somehow forming my own. On a plethora of different topics. As you can imagine, it’s a breeze…
I’m seeing it in Christian circles too; chatting about topical issues, being bombarded with opinions, trying to discern which one is ‘correct’ etc. Do I trust what Tim Keller says? Or how Michael Briggs interprets the Bible (easy scapegoat, sorry Michael)? It’s so much easier to sit in a coffee shop comfortably contemplating big questions (Did Jesus ever get the runs? I think probably) than it is to go out there and do what we’re called to do. To go into prisons and share Jesus with inmates, like Allan does. To talk about death over dinner, like Karl and Marilyn do, apparently…
I’ve been trying and catastrophically failing to get some Bible time in all of this. Every time I go to put the date at the top of my Bible journal, I audibly groan at the gap between this time and the last time I sat down and took time with God. But when I have, it has been a comfort. What are the chances!
Instead of trying to compete with the avalanche of photos and news that Instagram seems quite satisfied to dump on me daily, I just try and focus on one part of what I’m reading. It’s not ideal, as I’d love to devote more time to it, but for now it’s all my melting brain can take (that’s a bit drastic sorry, it just needs to be taken out and given a good rinse).
Speaking of a good rinse, that’s what Paul gives the Galatian church in his letter to them (I’ve been reading Galatians so that’s me tying this in. Very smoothly.). He’s fed up with them sticking so rigidly to the law, and instead offers them this alternative; “For in Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5 v 6). He wants them to let all this law-abiding and penis-snipping fall away, and instead embrace the simple truth; that Christ died for us to show us love and set us free, and we just need to use that freedom to show others love. A simple truth for a simple mind (me, I’m the simple mind).
And so this is what we are called to do. In the midst of the madness, to show love.
To set aside rules and listen. Because people will continue to dump their opinions on us, and these will cloud our judgment. Cloud our ability to love. We may not agree with people at first, or maybe ever, but there is nothing lost in listening. Or loving!
Galatians 2:21 says this: “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing”. I think I audibly said ‘YES’ when I read this (on my own, in my room, like a loser). We can’t earngrace. It was given to us by God, when Jesus died. We can’t discuss our way into heaven, nor can we condemn our way in there either. I love how Paul puts it in Ephesians (3:17-18), that we are “rooted and established in love…[so that we can] know this love that surpasses knowledge”. I was discussing the church with a friend a few weeks back, and at the end of it, both tired and a bit burnt out, we at least agreed that, despite the overload, love is the most important thing. That through this mountain of information and opinions, love should always pull through.
So this wasn’t a short one. It just was as messy and as confusing as I expected it to be. But hopefully despite the mess, God’s truth is clear; we are made free by His son dying on the cross. And what good is that freedom unless it’s used to love others?