Goodbye, January 2011

By January 31, 2011 culture, faith No Comments

It’s Monday. That means it’s book club discussion day over at High Calling Blogs, where we are reading and ruminating on The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God. I’ve only been a part-time clubber, as massive work overload and travel throughout January have prevented me from regular posting. [boo!] I’m not sure where January 2011 went, but I’m rather happy to close the door on it.

And once again, I’ve not read this week’s selection, so I’m not ready to post. I could offer you a taste of what I started for last week’s never-finished post . . . but who likes week-old leftovers? I certainly don’t. So why don’t you bounce over the HCB to see what the club is discussing for this week’s feast? I’m sure they are serving up something tasty—and fresh.

BTW :: I’m making some adjustments so that the busyness of January isn’t repeated in February. Perhaps then I’ll have some tasty morsels of my own to offer my guests? That’s something to look forward to!

Until then, I’m going to offer this snippet from an article series I’ve been following over at The Gospel Coalition. Dane Ortland says this:

The solution to restraint-free immorality is not morality. The solution to immorality is the free grace of God—grace so free that it will be (mis)heard by some as a license to sin with impunity. The route by which the New Testament exhorts radical obedience is not by tempering grace but by driving it home all the more deeply.

I like this because Ortland places the focus squarely on the finished work of Jesus Christ and His holiness as the motivation and source of any holiness that may sprout out of our own lives. Ortland’s comment is spot on, and it made me think of how grace is also the solution for the do-gooder who is trying to get into God’s good graces by being a decent sort of chap. Upright, generally good and moral folks need grace just as much as the immoral ones.

Radical obedience does not equal earning your way to God’s side. Grace calls us to rest in (trust in, count on, relish in) God’s forgiveness that invites us into His family. Once in the family, His love changes us to want to uphold the family name—not to keep our spot, but because we are so thrilled we have a spot we don’t want to hurt God’s heart with careless behavior. Hearts that try to be good enough to appease God are coming at it all wrong, assuming we can buy God’s favor with performance. God loves us because that’s who He is—love.

That’s a good way to start February, the month focused on love—don’t you think?

Dependence upon Jesus and the grace He pours out is where I find rest for my soul—rest from immorality (the sin that so easily entangles) and from morality (the sin that so easily entangles). Resting in Christ is the need of the day, whether it’s rest from book club posting or being good or being immoral. Today, I long to cease striving and simply know that He is God (a loving, forgiving, merciful God).

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Sources
Image: www.leslie-leyland-fields.com/books/the-spirit-of-food.html

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