His face was covered with a full beard. His hair fell almost to his shoulders. When he smiled, his white teeth flashed. His eyes were blue, clear, and alert. His laughter sounded strong and familiar to my ears. It reminded me of the times—now but a memory—we sat together as friends in seminary, wrestling with issues and trying to unscrew the inscrutable. As before, we shared thoughts around a mutual love—music. We kicked around all sorts of subjects: his marriage, the late John Denver, the “body concept” of the local church, banjos and fiddles, Laguna Beach...and the spiritual hunger on university campuses.
The presence of acceptance welded our conversation together. Love drove out fear and chained it to the cross where it was conquered. We smiled as we spoke of grace.
The bite of legalism injects a paralyzing venom into the body of Christ. But grace opens lives to the wonder and kindness of God.
Here’s how the Apostle Paul addressed the issue:
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. (Galatians 1:6–7)
I can’t believe, for example, that the only music God smiles upon is hymns. Nor do I believe the required attire for entering God’s presence is a suit and tie. Finally, who can prove that the only voice God will bless is the ordained minister on Sunday? How about the salesperson on Tuesday afternoon or the senior in high school sharing her faith?
You get the point: relax and represent the message of Christ by offering His loving mercy. You can do that with ease, and so can I. Because we’ve both been on the receiving end of His grace. That changed everything.
Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord...Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.