have you ever noticed a subtle (or blatantly obvious) theme running through your days for a period of time? well i certainly have these past few days, and it is undoubtedly "grace". monday began with a "James Chapter One" day.
"Consider it joy when you face trials of any kind, for you know it is for the perfecting of your faith"
isn't it great how God arms you with scripture right when you're going to need it most and when you're about to see it play out in application to your life? as if returning to work when half of me is still in Africa wasn't difficult enough, adding trial to the workplace wasn't what i had hoped for. i'm currently reading "Seizing Your Divine Moment" by Erwin McManus. without detail, let me say that the other night at work i was faced with one of those moments. it was a moment when the Truth was being twisted before my very eyes and i could have chosen to do nothing, but instead i acted. and it wasn't the easy road. it brought about a lot of tension. have you ever had a disagreement with someone who feels that any disagreement is a personal attack? but the Holy Spirit in me was reflecting God's anger at that moment -- anger towards pride, hypocrisy, judgementalism, self-righteousness, legalism, and just plain wrong theology. i don't know if you've felt it as well, but God's righteous anger feels physically different to me than when i myself just get angery about something. the type of righteous anger i'm talking about feels like a fire in my core that is burning so hot i feel like i'll explode, not at a person, but at the ugliness of sin, in this case the obscuring of God's Truth. i'm not one to be easily angered personally, and when i am angry, it doesn't ever feel like that. but the thought i my mind was, "the Truth in love. the Truth in love." yet no matter how calm and loving my words of Truth were, they hit the lies like an explosion. when Light enters the picture, darkness has to flee, and let me tell you, it didn't want to give in. praise the Almightly God for His promise, "I will give you the words to speak" praise Him for the instruction of "always be prepared to give an answer for the faith that you have." He is faithful. and darkness had nothing to back it up.
the conflict: the old law, rules that we must aboey to be considered "right with God"
the lies: Jesus didn't bring with Him a new law. we are still bound to the old (yet somehow only certain old laws are ones we need to to pay attention to; how that's determined, "i don't know")
the truth: Ephesians 2:15 and so much more
so that was monday. tuesday brought a non-theological type of legalism. what i means is simply this: people making up their own rules and expecting others to know and follow their rules when there is no basis for them. now hear this: i'm not much of a lover of rules. i'll be honest. funny thing is i've never been much of the rebel. when a rule makes sense to me, i have absolutely no problem obeying it. but when it doesn't make any sense to me, look out. i'm a policy girl. i make sure i know the policies at work, because if i'm breaking one, i at least want to know it. i am fine with consequences for my actions when i am overtly breaking a rule. it's to be expected, and i would expect no less. even if i disagree with the rule and think it's ridiculous, i have no problem reaping what i've sowed, if i choose to be outside the lines. the problem comes when others try to put extra rules on me that are not policy, and dress it up to sound like it is. i do not appreciate being called on the carpet about something, and scolded for breaking a rule that isn't even a rule. that's what i LOVE about Jesus. He called all those pharisees out for doing just that, putting extra burdens on the people that God didn't intend.
so that's how work was for me last night. twice. as one of my coworkers observed, "amanda, it seems like you are the designated 'crap catcher' this week." and i say, "bring it on. consider it joy. pray for those that persecute you. speak the truth in love, bless and do not curse. turn the other cheek. love others as you love yourself."
JESUS THANK YOU FOR GRACE!