There's a difference

There's a difference between obeying out of fear of the law and walking in faith of the grace.

There are those who do what they do in life because that's what you do. They view salvation as a sort of fire insurance. They wouldn't admit it, but the there's a certain amount of fear in their obedience to the law, as though if they do enough good, if they are obedient enough, then God will forgive them of their sins and let them into heaven (or, and forgive me the offense, my dearly, DEARLY beloved Catholic friends) out of purgatory. They live their lives in obedience because of fear of the law, and the consequences of disobedience, even unconsciously.

And then there's the other way. There's what I aim for, though I know I often miss. Walking in faith of the grace. What does that mean? What's the difference?

For me, walking in faith of the grace is yes, obedience when I don't feel obedient. But instead of being afraid of what would happen if I weren't obedient, instead of obeying because that's what you do, or to keep my scale balanced, I opt for something different. I am obedient because I am convinced that the grace I've been promised in reward is far far better than any fleeting percieved reward know. It's in recognition that obedience has produced rewards otherwise unimaginable, and it's built my faith in His ability to keep His promises.

We all face trials in life, and we come out of them in one of three ways. We can be delivered from the trial, and not have to face it. This builds our faith, because we see prayers answered. We can be delivered through them, as Shadrach, Meshac, and Abednego were (or, better, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael, as they were named to honor the God who spared them). They faced a fire so hot it killed the guards charged with throwing them in, and walked out of it, with neither scorch marks or even the SMELL of smoke. This tests our faith; can we have the faith that He will keep our promises, or even, as they said, as Job said, "Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him." Or we can be delivered by the trial into the arms of God, completing our faith, perfecting it in the ultimate act of grace (Thanks Beth Moore for this idea). Yes, we are dead in this life... but if we had faith in God and in His gift of grace, then we can conceive that we've not lost anything.

Obedience in fear of the law may accomplish good things, but it is imperfect. Perfect love casts out fear... so we can't operate in fear to reach perfection. Walking in faith of the grace that's promised eliminates the fear. It allows victory, it allows perfect love... It's grace. The amazing thing? When you walk in faith of promised grace, you leave room for grace to be poured out upon you, building your faith in future outpourings of grace. You get the grace you need to experience victory over whatever requires obedience now.

Yes, I obey even when I don't feel like it. I obey because I've experienced the grace I need to experience victory. Walking in faith builds faith and is powered by and rewarded with grace.

Maybe I've talked in circles. Maybe it makes no sense to you. But I understand, and beloved, I choose freedom. I choose to exercise my faith like a muscle, and delight in the victory.

Which will you do? There's a difference... in why, and what results you recieve. But then... there's a difference when your name's been written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

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