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We have to learn the rules to walk in freedom

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We have to learn the rules to walk in freedom. I first learned this from Richard Rohr (and he got it from the apostle Paul*). Rohr talks about two stages of life. In the first stage of life, we have to learn boundaries. Parents know this experientially. A hot stove will burn yo…
By Seth Barnes

We have to learn the rules to walk in freedom. I first learned this from Richard Rohr (and he got it from the apostle Paul*).

Rohr talks about two stages of life.
In the first stage of life, we have to learn boundaries.
Parents know this experientially. A hot stove will burn you, so as a
mom, you establish the rule, “NO TOUCH!”


 

This principle is operative in so many different realms. In the world of education, the best teachers are the ones who start off tough and give students more latitude over time. And in the world of the spirit it’s
especially true. It helps explain the difference between the Old
Testament (law) and the New Testament (grace).

One corollary of this principle is that young people tend to struggle with ambiguity more than their elders. As I get older, I find that there are fewer religious hills I want to die on. I’m more concerned with what produces unity than I am in being right.

This progression is normal. We need limits if we are to love well.

Most religions stop with the list of rules. They tell you how NOT to live, but can’t help you really live. Yes, you need to stop the carousing if you’re to move beyond selfishness. But if you stay there in that world of rules that leads you to freedom, you’ll end up a legalist like so many of the religious people who annoy you.

The list of rules is an important place to start walking out your faith in Christ, but it’s a terrible place to finish. Jesus came to set us free, not only from sin, but from the need to live according to a list of regulations. Today’s a good day to look in the mirror and say goodbye to whatever legalism you see looking back at you.

*              *               *              *
*Romans 8 does a great job of helping us understand this issue. “What the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as
we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the
Spirit is doing in us.”



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