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Are You Living Under the Law?



This article is further contemplation on my previous study, "inspired distributing", but it is more a general study about how to walk daily "in the Spirit".

Jesus said that we should "abide in him" for without him we can do nothing.

So our study starts with acknowledging the fact that without the grace (enabling power) of God we cannot serve God or even please Him. It is therefore vital to our Christian life that we walk in this power every day, for if we fail to do so, we shall "dry up and wither" as a branch on Christ's vine, and eventually be cast off.

We know from experience that many of our ex members died spiritually in this way, some slowly, some more dramatically.

Well before they left the community, something was not right with their relationship with God. While the community makes every effort to assist people in having a healthy and happy relationship with God, it is ultimately the responsibility of each individual to have this relationship, and noone else can be blamed for your own lack of spirituality. And yet how many ex members do you see blaming us for their spiritual failures after they have left. Seeing as they did not abide in the love and discipline of the Holy Spirit, an evil spirit has taken over their lives and they are now full of bitterness and hatred towards God and those who tried to help them on the way.

DON"T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

So how do we maintain this healthy relationship? Firstly, you must be diligent to maintain your private prayer life with God. You cannot blame the community that you were so busy doing community duties, that you had no time to pray. We have never stopped anyone from taking time out to pray.

But many a lazy person would rather sleep than pray through a crisis.

However, I have have still found that I am not always as "inspired" as I would like to be while performing my daily tasks. There are certainly wonderful moments when we feel so full of the Spirit that any service to God is an absolute joy. I treasure such moments and memories. They are like our "first love" experiences. But as any married couple will tell you, those feelings come and go, and it is unrealistic to expect that they are going to be present every moment of our walk.

Rather than desiring to be spiritually "HIGH" all the time, I do believe that God's spirit comes to us mainly as a peaceful contentedness. When I am "in the Spirit", I don't feel lonely or upset, for I know God's living presence in my heart.

When we lose this peaceful contentedness, we should take note of this as a serious warning sign that something is not right and needs to be fixed in our spirit. There are so many "malcontented" people in the world. God forbid that we should become such negative and destructive personalities as what we see in many ex members.

Now let me apply this back to something we do as a community much of the time, i.e. our street witnessing. Make no mistake; this is front line soldiery.

If we do not have our relationship with God sorted out, it will all unravel out there on the street where we fight Satan's Kingdom head on day after day. Satan will mercilessly expose all your weaknesses and temptations there to your own heart, and you must be spiritually en guarde!

Some days I feel wonderfully inspired to be out there. Other days I will feel inspired one hour and discouraged the next. Some days I go out there with something like grim dogged determination to just get through the session.

I think its normal to go up and down like this to a certain degree. God teaches us that faithfulness is more important than having wonderful feelings. It is a vital spiritual lesson to be obedient to God when our feelings may try to trick us to stop serving him. People who only serve God when its "fun" cannot  be relied upon in any serious crisis.

But the days when I have stuck it out with grim determination have usually been rewarded with blessings later on in that day or week.

If however, you find yourself drudging through your walk day after day, you need to start making changes to either your attitude, your schedule, or your prayer life.

This is what I see as the difference between what Paul describes as being "under law" or "under grace". When you are "in the Spirit" you are working in or under the grace of God. It is a contented condition where you are happy to serve God and others. It seems to flow out of us in an almost supernaturally natural way. Sometimes however, we are not so spiritual. When we are not under grace, then we go back to being "under the law". This is NOT an ideal state, but it IS better than being lawless!

In other words, the law is there to tell us what is right and what is wrong, and we should obey the rule because we know it is good even if our attitude is not perfect. We talk about people who have a "Martha" spirit. They are usually very hard working practical people. They know that it is their DUTY to serve others. But when a person gets out of the spirit, they are just working as though under the law.

Sooner or later they are getting grumpy and resentful with others in the community and even angry at God at having so much work to do. They get angry that others are not working as hard as they are, or are not showing enough gratitude to them for all their efforts to serve them. At this stage the person has completely lost the plot and needs to repent of their bad attitude.

But the "law" cannot perfect a person's attitude. It's not really possible to stay a Christian and live at the level of being "under the law" for any length of time. If we are living at this level it can only be a stop gap measure with the aim of getting overselves back in the spiritual state of being "under grace" again.

It has been appalling recently to witness the anger and hatred coming out of ex-members' mouths.  Some of them describe their time in the community as a life of oppressive rules and drudgery.  You know from this that these people had been operating at the level of being "under the law" while in the community.

Eventually they begin to hate the law of Christ, hate the community, hate God for being such an oppressor. They particularly blame the leadership for feeling oppressed, because imperfect human leaders are the easiest target for our own frustrations.

They depart from the Spirit first, then they begin to hate the Law, or anyone who represents it, and finally they decide to become Lawless, hateful, bitter. At this end stage they feel great relief, revelling in their freedom to be lawless, out from under that oppressive law. However, they are now too blind to see how it was that they came to view following the law of Christ as being oppressive drudgery. Like the children of Israel, fed with manna in the desert, they grumbled, complained, murmured against the leadership, and went back to Egypt in their hearts.

Something went terribly wrong in their walk with God despite all the good teaching we gave them about how to stay "in the spirit".

So when you see these signs within yourself, it is your personal responsibility to do something about your spiritual state. Blaming others is a cop out, and just a further sign of how spiritually immature you are. Don't stop seeking for answers to your condition until you return to the peaceful and contented heights of living under the grace of God.


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