Monday, October 09, 2006

The New Leviticus

This is a subject I've hesitated to write or even talk about, because of its controversial nature. I fear being misunderstood, but that kind of fear only leads to bondage, even though it will probably mean that I will continue to burn bridges of opportunity with the community I have been associated with most of my life. The problem stems from one simple verse in the New Testament. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Is it really that simple? I have never been led to consider the idea that the believer in Christ has the Spirit indwelling, and within that new relationship is the basis of all new life, faith, hope and love. There has always been added an assumption that the Spirit is not enough to guide me away from sin, away from my flesh and the influence of the world. I don't know if I am alone in this, but I am waking to this assumption and am starting to ask questions, ones that are leading to new freedom in Christ personally, but alienation from some of His people. I think back to the days of new faith at age 17, when I finally decided that the way of Jesus was the way for me. Life radically changed after that. I experienced that new relationship with the Spirit. Things were different. I made new decisions accordingly. I was thrilled. Then, a few months later, I entered college, found a student ministry right away and was shaped by its emphasis on Scripture and personal discipline. And somewhere along the way was handed me the huge assumption that I am fundamentally a bad person and am one step away from spiritual disaster. What this resulted in was a focus on everything negative, and the Bible became a type of law to follow. I was encouraged to read it and look for things I'm not doing right, which only served to reinforce the assumption that I am a screw up. Fear of letting God down in some way became the norm, and the Bible daily showed me every way that I was failing Him. So to do better I took copious notes on every expository sermon I heard, not wanting to miss anything that might keep me from sinning. I made sure I read my bible every day (first thing of a morning) so I would not blow it somehow. I memorized countless verses so I would find success. But it didn't work and I couldn't figure out why. I still struggled with the same problems. I was still anxious. I was afraid of people, and ultimately afraid of God. Then it dawned on me, that maybe the reason I struggled so much with what was called my "walk with God" was the fact that I was still chained to the Law. I was reading the New Testament as the New Leviticus. Had I merely exchanged one law for a new one? To be continued...

1 comment:

GuyMuse said...

Interesting thoughts. I look forward to reading more of what you are learning about the "New Leviticus". The whole law-grace thing has always been a bit confusing to me as well. If we aren't under the old law, why are we still living like we were?