The Main ingredient
Galatians 5:4- You who have been trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Most people are looking for a way to eat rich food, but not gain weight. I myself have looked at the eyebrow lifting claims of sugar free brownies, and fat free foods in an attempt keep the athletic body I imagine I have in my own mind. I read the labels intently looking for the sugar or the fat grams, and instead I see about a thousand other ingredients that I cannot even pronounce. There is no sugar or fat, but the list is a mile long of ingredients with the letter x and consonants where vowels belong. Are those things healthy, or good for us? Well we have been told that sugar and fat are bad, so that other stuff must be good and healthy. You would think these foods are a miracle. How about exercise? If you turn on your TV anytime from Christmas to Valentine’s Day, you can be sure to see every infomercial on the best way to get rid of those love handles. The latest and greatest machine that will absolutely transform you from flab to fab in thirty days! Is this profitable? Who knows, but I am absolutely sure that the high level marketing folks in the food industry, the exercise industry, like the very learned and knowledgeable of our faith have very conflicting views on what is the right thing for us to digest! They want to make things so confusing and so dire, that we buy into ways we can do it ourselves. If only you pay the price, this perfect body, and heaven can be yours. If it was a way for me to beat the simplicity of following God’s lead to a healthy fit body, I’ve tried it. And subsequently, sold it in a garage sale the next summer. I can tell you there is a simple truth to both fitness and our faith. We don't have to complicate things beyond the truth, and if we try and take control of something that is outside of the truth, then some pretty unfavorable consequences can take shape. I started eating sugar free, fat free garbage, bought fancy exercise machines and guess what? I felt like I could eat more of it, and I didn't have to exercise outside of the easy machines, because hey, I was eating healthy. The truth is, I gained weight and it took me so much deeper in a pit of despair. I blamed myself for being a sucker, and by doing so, sent me back to square one all over again. God led me to give all that stuff up a few years ago, and now I am at a healthy weight, and have a healthy exercise routine, and it is all God-led.
The truth is that if we look for ways to justify ourselves outside of Jesus, grace is of no use to us. That is pretty scary. Especially since there are so many people out there telling us that we have to do this, or do that in order to not fall from grace! That is a lie! When we try and do it ourselves, and look for justification of the law through works, and good deeds, following strict laws, then we fall from grace! Falling from grace in the media is when someone does something that doesn't line up with what a Christian looks like to the world. But that is not it at all. It is when we look to take the main ingredient out of our lives, and that is Jesus. Jesus is grace, and grace is simple in that, you believe in and follow Jesus, we don't have to worry about if we are doing enough for our salvation. Jesus fulfilled the law once and for all! We sometimes want to complicate things and when the lie of the enemy says, " a good Christian doesn’t get angry". "A good Christian doesn't think bad thoughts". " A good Christian doesn't hang out with those people." The list goes on and on to the point that it looks a lot like the label on the food in the fat free aisle. The list is so long, that it can start to look like the penal code in a book of law for a municipality! See what I mean? These are traps, because if we start to believe that we have to follow the right way to live, well we have taken the main ingredient out of our lives, which is Jesus.
Just because it sounds Christian, doesn’t mean that it is. Don't be fooled by the claims of repent, follow the rules and you may make it to heaven. That is a lie. Repenting means to make a change of mind, and that is what we must do. Not in the sense that we must repent for a bad thought, or a day of bad decisions. We repent once, and that is from the law to grace fulfilled by Jesus. If we had to repent every time we sinned, we wouldn't have time to get out of bed in the morning, or focus on Jesus. I’m not suggesting that we become seared emotionally from doing something we know is wrong. Not at all. What I mean is, that if we focus our lives on Jesus, we don’t have to worry about what we do or think, because He is leading it. We must make up our minds to follow Jesus, and Jesus alone. Anything else is going to lead to following a set of rules which cannot save us! Remember that when people or the enemy try and tell you the way you must live will equate to your salvation, that is rooted in fear. The law is called the ministry of death (2nd Corinthians 2:7). Perfect love casts out fear ( 1st John 4:18) and that perfect love is only from Jesus and His perfect grace. Don't fall from grace. It is perfect. Jesus loves you in your imperfect way, He loves you no matter what you do, and you're accepted and justified through your faith in Him. If He leads you to make changes in your life, let Him lead you. He will do it out of love and never fear. Don't fall for the eyebrow raising claims. There is but one truth, and that is Jesus Christ crucified for us all.