31 Days of Grace
The Old Testament Jewish people lived their life by the laws of God. There were laws on how to appropriately conduct yourself in almost any situation you could think of, and then laws on how and when to punish those who did not come into the obedience of those laws. There wasn't a ton of guesswork on what was right and what was wrong - there was a clearly defined line. One side of the line meant you were good and the other side of the line, you were bad. Pretty straightforward. But there wasn't a lot of room for grace.
And then Jesus came. And Jesus said things like unless you lose your life you will not find it and let him without sin cast the first stone and he that is last will be first. It rocked the world of these law-abiding citizens. So much so that He received the death penalty for His audacious acts. He tried to teach grace, but those law-lovers wouldn't have it.
Are we so much different?
Romans 6:14 tells us, New Testament believers, that we are no longer under law but under grace. But we gravitate toward law. We want to look at our life and compare it to that of another and say, "See? I'm better. I follow this and I do this and I have much better habits and there. I am good and they are not as good as I. Humph."
For some reason, even though grace is much more freeing, we want to live under the law. And I speculate it's because living under the law makes us feel better when we compare ourselves to others. And under grace? Well, under grace there is no room for comparison. Under grace, there is no room for judgement (unless someone is in sin. whole 'nother topic ...). Under grace, we assume that our fellow believers are constantly praying and seeking God's will and then following through on what He asks of them, even if it looks strange to us. Under grace, the following things can happen ...
Some families can be called to have as many children as God allows them. Other families feel led to stop at two.
Some people are called to sell all their possessions and start a ministry in a third world country. Others are called to very lucrative positions at the tippy-top of the corporate ladder.
Some moms are called to stay at home. Other moms feel led to work.
Some families don't even have a television in their homes. Others regularly enjoy shows and movies as part of their special family time.
Some go. Some stay. Some get their hands dirty. Some give money. Some sing. Some disinfect the toys in the church nursery. Some serve full-time. Some are Jesus to the souls in the neighboring cubicles.
Whatever the story may be, grace understands that we are all called to run a different race. And that race manifests itself in a series of choices that may look very different than the choices you have been called to make. All that matters is that we obey what we feel God has called us to do. And no matter what the law might lead us to think, we are no longer under the law ... we are under grace.