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Tea Party Winners: Vicki Talley McCollum's Never Say Goodbye, A National Park Romance novella goes to: Caryl Kane, Deanne Patterson, Deana Dick, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners Beverly Duell-Moore and Cindy Pratt, Roseanna White's winners - Betti Mace, Gabrielle Meyer's winners -, Deb Marvin's paperback winner - Rachel Dodson

Sunday, September 2, 2012

George Washington: Contending for Liberty

Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a Freeman, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth. 

George Washington, General Orders, Headquarters, New York (2 July 1776)

 "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" 
 Galatians 3:2-3

Perhaps the most difficult balance for a Christian to strike is that of good works and faith.
"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James 2:17

Because of the glorious grace of God, shed upon us freely by the faith of Jesus Christ, we are free from the tyranny of religious rituals, traditions, and works as a means to appease and win favor with God. Yet, faith is revealed in our actions. What should those actions be?
"O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off." Psalm 139:1-2

Perhaps the question should not be what actions reveals our faith but what motivates our actions? We, being fallible creatures, know not what follows our actions. God, being infallible and all-knowing, understands the heart behind our actions and judges accordingly.

In our pursuit of holiness we quickly create lists of dos and don'ts. Paul rebuked Peter for returning to the religious exercise of separation from the Gentiles. A work of the law Peter sought to use to justify himself in the eyes of the Jews.

Yet Paul saw that being dead to the law and alive in Christ meant his actions must reflect his life in Christ, who fulfilled the law when He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
"For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in on word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Galatians 5:13-14
Contending for the liberty we have in Christ is superior to all the rituals, acts, and abstinence of religion, which enslaves. But we do not fight with harsh words, accusational statements, and angry countenances. Our contention for liberty is in love: "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

How are you showing your faith? Are your works reflecting the love and grace of God? Or are you executing works, rituals, religious abstinence in order to live the life of a religious mercenary who believes he will be paid for his good works by God with blessings?

"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he gave us commandment."
I John 3:23

2 comments:

  1. Lynn, in my European historical MS, my heroine, Suzanne, has employed rituals, borrowed from her grandmother's faith, to soothe her. Of course that doesn't connect us with the Lord--we have to have our own relationship with the Lord, not one "borrowed" from another. Thanks for this great post!

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  2. Carrie, even as I was preparing this devotional I thought about how easy it is for us who have been born again, who do have a personal relationship with God, to slip into rituals, like church attendance or quicky Bible reading, and not really commune with God. We speak Christianese and dress to appear holy or righteous to our fellow Christians, and slip unconsciously into seeking that compliment from a fellow brother or sister rather than seeking God's approval. Perhaps we mistakenly view the praise of our pastor or respected leader as praise from God.

    In defense against such spiritual traps and ambushes we need to work to maintain and grow our relationship with God. Whatever it takes to know His love and grace, this is what we must pursue. Not that our works would bring us His love and grace, but in the challenges we face in life we seek His grace.

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