I am Redeemed

Re blog: Rules, Rules, Rules

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14 NASB

I am a copy editor. I do it part-time from home now, but I used to work for a well-known, major newspaper. There, my job was to write headlines and scour articles, catching everyone else’s errors and making none of my own. In short, my job description was “be perfect.”

Are you surprised that I failed?

Whenever I did, the copy desk chief would call me and wake me up the next morning. “Did you edit the article on the city council meeting?” Oh, I hated those early-morning chats. I was so ashamed to admit that yes, it was me who missed the error now in print for the whole world to see. Worse – yes, it was me who made the error, in 45-point type, at the top of the Metro Section. I am so sorry.

To be fair, my boss was kind. And he treated me the same way he treated my colleagues – he corrected us in private and praised us in public. That’s part of made it so difficult. I genuinely liked the man and wanted to please him. All my colleagues did. And, yet, even working together, we could not produce a perfectly, constantly error-free paper. We were just so many humans trying to keep so many rules.

Copy editors are slaves to rules. We have a whole book of them, called the AP Style Book. Grammatical rules. Spelling rules. Capitalization and punctuation rules. Rules about headlines and libel and slander. I have degree in journalism, and try as I might, I could never follow all those rules, every day, all the time.

That must be something like what the Old Testament Jews felt. They must have tried to keep all those gazillion laws. Laws about sacrifices. Laws about purification. Laws about eating and festivals and marriage. And, try as they might, they failed. They were imperfect slaves to the law.

And that is what Jesus redeemed us from. He set us free from that bondage to rules. But, God didn’t just one day wake up in heaven and say, “Hey, you know what? I’ll just repeal all my laws. You guys don’t need to try to keep them anymore.”

No. The laws were necessary, and the consequence for breaking them was far more dire than a 6-a.m. reprimand from a gentle boss. The punishment was death. And so, Jesus redeemed us both from a life of slavery to laws and the consequence of breaking them when he died in our place. He answered the phone. “Yes, I’ll take the punishment for her. Let her sleep. Give me the blame.”

I have been redeemed from a life of slavery to “do’s and don’ts.” I have been redeemed into a relationship, a daughter-ship, a loving friendship with God Himself. I now strive to keep the rules out of a heart overflowing with gratitude, not out of fear of punishment when I fail.

Praise God. I’ve been redeemed.

I Have an Anchor

Feather-Heads and Fences

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statures of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. ~Psalm 19:8-10, NKJV

The question is inevitable. Every year one of my AWANA kids asks it, usually about the time that they are memorizing the Ten Commandments.

Why does God have so many rules?

It’s interesting to think about this question. Probing it always leads me to dig for the root—where does that question really begin? Why do I think that God has too many rules? Why do I want to know why God has laid out these rules? Why do I have a hard time following them?

The most obvious answer is sin. A rebellious, stubborn heart which yearns for its own way says to the God of these ‘rules,’ you can’t tell me what to do! Or I’ll do it my own way! That would be me, anyway. I don’t like paperwork, rarely follow a recipe, and usually like to figure out things on my own. That’s my stubborn personality (which, believe me, can work out very poorly!).

But, maybe there’s something else playing in this scenario, another root that is causing this nagging question about God and his rules. Perhaps there is, at the very core of this query, a misunderstanding.

I pondered this idea this morning as I was putting my chickens, yet again, back in their yard. Sadly, we can’t let them free-range. We live on the open prairie, and chickens wandering out in the unprotected space are prone to becoming hawk prey. Or coyote food. Or dog toys. We have a nice, big, fenced yard surrounded by trees for our chickens to run and play. But there are a couple of hens who insist that’s not good enough. I can almost hear in their squawking as I corral them back into their dwelling, why do you have this dumb fence, anyway? Why do I have to follow your rules?

Huh. That sounds familiar. The truth is my daughter has been heartbroken when her chickens get picked off. Heart. Broken. We keep them inside the fence so that they are safe, because, bless my little girl’s heart, she loves those feather-heads.

Rules are kind of like that, aren’t they? I’m squawking about the very thing that is intended to keep me anchored in safety. And by doing so, I’m questioning the heart of God.

You don’t want me to have any fun.

I love you, and I don’t want the talons of Satan sinking into your neck.

You think I can’t handle things by myself.

I know the prowling lion who waits to kill and devour.

Oh, feather-hearted soul, don’t misunderstand the heart of God. It is love that sets boundaries. It is grace that outlines the perimeter. Can you not trust the God who spared not his own Son to claim you for his own?

I am Redeemed

Rules, Rules, Rules

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14 NASB

I am a copy editor. I do it part-time from home now, but I used to work for a well-known, major newspaper. There, my job was to write headlines and scour articles, catching everyone else’s errors and making none of my own. In short, my job description was “be perfect.”

Are you surprised that I failed?

Whenever I did, the copy desk chief would call me and wake me up the next morning. “Did you edit the article on the city council meeting?” Oh, I hated those early-morning chats. I was so ashamed to admit that yes, it was me who missed the error now in print for the whole world to see. Worse – yes, it was me who made the error, in 45-point type, at the top of the Metro Section. I am so sorry.

To be fair, my boss was kind. And he treated me the same way he treated my colleagues – he corrected us in private and praised us in public. That’s part of made it so difficult. I genuinely liked the man and wanted to please him. All my colleagues did. And, yet, even working together, we could not produce a perfectly, constantly error-free paper. We were just so many humans trying to keep so many rules.

Copy editors are slaves to rules. We have a whole book of them, called the AP Style Book. Grammatical rules. Spelling rules. Capitalization and punctuation rules. Rules about headlines and libel and slander. I have degree in journalism, and try as I might, I could never follow all those rules, every day, all the time.

That must be something like what the Old Testament Jews felt. They must have tried to keep all those gazillion laws. Laws about sacrifices. Laws about purification. Laws about eating and festivals and marriage. And, try as they might, they failed. They were imperfect slaves to the law.

And that is what Jesus redeemed us from. He set us free from that bondage to rules. But, God didn’t just one day wake up in heaven and say, “Hey, you know what? I’ll just repeal all my laws. You guys don’t need to try to keep them anymore.”

No. The laws were necessary, and the consequence for breaking them was far more dire than a 6-a.m. reprimand from a gentle boss. The punishment was death. And so, Jesus redeemed us both from a life of slavery to laws and the consequence of breaking them when he died in our place. He answered the phone. “Yes, I’ll take the punishment for her. Let her sleep. Give me the blame.”

I have been redeemed from a life of slavery to “do’s and don’ts.” I have been redeemed into a relationship, a daughter-ship, a loving friendship with God Himself. I now strive to keep the rules out of a heart overflowing with gratitude, not out of fear of punishment when I fail.

Praise God.

I’ve been redeemed.