Days 7 & 8
He comes to fulfill the law. He comes to show us a righteousness greater than the self-rightness of the religious leaders, the outward rule-following that swells up self, calls the world to look at me! See how zealous I am!
In the end we all serve self, much as we pretend otherwise. The law kept us from destroying ourselves and one another, like unruly children who can only squabble and clamor no matter how much love is poured on them. But the law was never the final answer. It always pointed to Jesus.
I know the way, says Jesus. Let me show you.
In your dealings with others:
- Be reconciled. The cost of anger is high. Do not let it consume you.
- Tear lust away from you at all costs. Do not destroy one another in your minds.
- Stay faithful to one another. The cost of separation is high.
- Let your word be your bond. Let others know you by your word.
- Let go of retaliation. Give to others and do not refuse them, even if they deserve otherwise.
- Love those who hate you. Care for them as I do. I came to die for them. To set them free.
In your dealings with God:
- Give secretly to others with no thought of reward.
- Pray secretly to your Father with no thought of reward.
- Fast secretly with your Father with no thought of reward.
- Your reward is in the kingdom, and it is rich. Lay up treasures in heaven. Do not serve money or things.
- Let your eyes be light, not darkness. Christ’s kingdom brings the light.
- Let go of fear. You do not need to be anxious. Your father will provide for you always. Do not worry about tomorrow.
- Recognize your own failings so you will not live in blind judgment of others. But also, do not throw what is holy to dogs. Protect what I have given you.
- Ask for God. Seek God. Knock on the door of His kingdom. He is waiting to give, wanting you to come to Him.
And so. Treat others as you want to be treated. This sums up the law. Those who do this have the fruit to show it. Those who serve themselves have the fruit to show it.
This is the rock. This is how you build your house. Many who think they know God are still stuck in self-rightness. Don’t you see? This is the way of relinquishment. Letting go. We must open our hands from all the things we think we need, all the fears that drive us to self-protect and self-serve, and we must fill our eyes with heaven.
But we cannot do this. And this is why He comes. Jesus comes to fulfill the law, to do what the law could never do. He gives the Spirit of life which sets us free.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done with the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:2-4).
The Message says it so well:
“God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
“The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
“Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God” (Romans 8:3-8).
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. (Romans 8:11)
Come, Spirit. Help us to relinquish ourselves to You. Come and set us free.