1997-04-24 - More Grace
I heard a story the other day that has stuck with me. A story of a young man who became a Christian in his late teens. Stories like this often strike me since I was saved at age 17. The young gentleman in question was simply overwhelmed with the joy in his heart and the love that he felt for Jesus, and the gratitude that welled up within himself. It is simplest to say that he was in love with Jesus Christ.
He was in church regularly, but most of all he read his Bible off and on during the day. Whenever he had a free moment, he was back in that Bible drawing it in like a sponge.
As time moved along, a guest speaker came to the church where this young man attended. The speaker was a devote man who had been a minister for many years and was now traveling and speaking. The speaker was trying to drive home a point with the congregation. A point that had stood him in good stead for many years. "My friends", he said, "if you really love God … if you really love God, then you can get up a bit earlier in the morning and read your Bible for an hour." This young man thought for a minute. Well, I read my Bible for more than an hour every day, if you total up the various times. I can do that. I love God. I'll do it.
The next morning, the alarm went off a bit earlier and this young gent popped out of bed, ready to go. He sat down with his beloved Bible and started off to the races. After 15 minutes, he looked up at the clock thinking surely he must be nearly completed with his hour. He was stunned to find that he had the better part of the hour left. Well, it was the longest hour of his Christian life. After a week of trying to do this extra hour, he gave up … all together! He did not read again for several months, when God spoke quietly to him, "Okay son, pick it up again." Well, he did and his joy of reading returned.
But what had happened? Something that had been a blessing, a joy and an offering became a law. The hour long quiet time had been the staple of this speaker. But, our relationships with God are varied. Some of us have this morning time, others are lucky to get their feet in the floor and find the shower. What was a regular meeting for the speaker, became and obligation for the young man. He was striving to please God.
2 Cor 3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (NAS)
The letter of the law bound this man to a 60 minute a day torture test which he could not pass. The spirit of the law which says 'mediate on the scriptures' is life, food and health to the spiritual man inside each of us. Now, there are some things like Sunday morning services. Corporate worship is scheduled to permit everyone to schedule it into their lives. It is a matter of convenience to meet Sunday at 10:30am. Once the young man returned to his reading to fill in time, the fire in his heart to read was rekindled.
Lord Jesus, keep us from making rules about how we seek to please You or serve You. Help us to remove the restrictions we already have built up, and keep new things from building up in our path. Guide us in this facet of Your mighty grace. Amen.