It’s An Inside Job

If you try to become Christ-like in your external behavior you will simply turn into a devoted legalist, and people will run from you.

Dallas Willard, interviewed by Luci Shaw/published in radix

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what a lot of us try to do. We manage our behavior and learn how to fake it. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he urges them to grasp the reality that they, we, no one will be justified by the law (2:16). Instead, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law (3:13). We say we believe this, but then we add our own requirements to the Gospel.

Trust Jesus and…..

  • read this version of the Bible only
  • be this kind of woman
  • be this kind of man
  • sing this kind of music
  • believe this doctrine but not that one
  • be baptized this way
  • parent this way
  • wear this and not that
  • be part of this denomination, but not those other ones
  • read these theologians, but no one else
  • stay away from this conversation
  • don’t ask questions

But No

This shouldn’t be. Paul goes on to say in Galatians 4:19, “I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Our transformation is an inside job. We can’t make it happen by managing our behaviors. How then? Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

We can begin by asking Jesus: how can I learn from you? enlighten the eyes of my heart so I can see and know the truth and help me pay attention.

The Gospel of John is a good place to begin if we want to learn more about Jesus. Chapter 15’s vine and branches inspired the photo. We can start with a small section of John and read it over and over for a week, or read a chapter each day. There isn’t one right way to read the Bible.

If you have questions or comments, reach out to me. I have more resources I’d be glad to share.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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