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Grace Pushers

I have to admit, I like to push the limits a bit.  It’s not that I mean to be “rebellious”, I think my mix of mischief and zest for adventure takes over me to my detriment.   Yes, it can get me into trouble.   Like the time in college when we poured laundry detergent into the Royal Bank fountain downtown Abbotsford (DOWNTOWN Abbotsford LOL!)   Or skinny dipping with the girl counsellors at midnight at Chubb Lake Bible camp….. there’s more but you get the point (and I’ll never tell) 🙂


But beyond the pranks,  the past few years I’ve been thinking a lot more about what it looks like to push the limits of God’s grace.   I remember when I was in youth group, there was a constant emphasis on living a life of “holiness” – staying away from sin.   I’m not sure what happened between 1991 and now, but it seems like now that message has been faded to be replaced with a “my prerogative” type of faith.   I’m not saying my opinion about either end of the spectrum but I do know I’ve noticed this:


We as people who have chosen to follow Christ have become less concerned with how God wants us to live to how far we can push the limits of His grace.


I guess it all stems down to what each person sees as “sin”.  We live in such a lack of “black and white” – there’s many views out there of what sin really LOOKS like.


To one, swearing would be a huge no,no.  To another, just an expression.

To one, smoking a cigar is a matter of choice.  To another, a sign of rebellion

To one, drinking would be an “unpardonable sin”.  To another, a cultural norm.

To one, its unheard of to be careful what you watch or listen to, guarding what influences your life.  To another, a strict discipline that could possibly come across legalistic

To one, poker is an evil addiction.  To another, a fun game to play with friends.

To one, sex before marriage is hard NOT to do.  To another, it’s violating God’s word.


So how can we ever know if we’re pushing the limits of grace if there’s so much grey  smudging the previous black and white?


It all comes down to what “sin” really means.   Sin, in the greek means: To miss the mark – not to break the rule.   Does that mean we can break all the rules?!!  Not really.   “Sin” means to miss all that God has for you.   How would that ever happen??


By living our own way.


“My prerogative” doesn’t fly with God, yet that’s how our God-believing society chooses to live.   If it feels good, do it.   I think we’ve got to this point because we’re so tired of the do’s and don’ts that used to dominate our pulpits.   Ridiculous things like not being able to go to movies or even go rollerskating repulses my generation.  I can  understand what would get this type of legalistic thinking started.   Movie theatres wouldn’t always play movies that were appropriate for followers of Christ.  So instead of mentoring how to watch what you see going into your heart, we just ruled out ALL movies.  What does this kind of rule do to someone like me?   You guessed it: runs me strait to the movie theatre.


Yet, I can’t say I’m thrilled about this opposite end I see in front of me these days.   Those of us who grew up in that kind of atmosphere seem to WANT to do everything and anything we were told wasn’t good.   So bring on all the “secular music”, movies with suggestive scenes, clubbing, drinking, smoking weed, promiscuity, cheating and off-color language.   We may attend church on Sunday but as we sit there, our attitudes shout: Stick it to the man!


I’ve touched on this in a previous blog, but if you’re reading for the first time, it’s worth repeating.   It’s not whether music, movies, drinking, language etc is right or wrong.  Does it cause you to “miss God’s mark?”  Are you so pre-occupied proving how “free in Christ” you are to live whatever way you want that you’ve lost sight of God?  Do you remember what God loves?   Do  you care about what He hates?   Does His standard govern your heart?     God doesn’t linger in legalistic rules.  He dwells in righteousness:  doing what’s right. Living full of integrity.   Keeping His ideas at the forefront of the mind, turning them into your actions.


When you can think that way, you can weed out what should or shouldn’t be in your life…. and it’s amazing how clear it is to see.


God didn’t save us for us to live a life seeing what we can get away with.  He saved us so we could be empowered to live this life with all we got for His kingdom.  To live righteous. To make an impact.  To BE the difference.  Can anyone see that in you?


“So what do we do?  Keep on sinning (missing the mark) so God can keep forgiving?  I should hope not!……As long as you did what you FELT like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter!  But do you call that a free life??   What did you get out of it?  Nothing you’re proud of now.  Where did it get you?  A dead end. (Romans 6:1, 21)

Ironically, a “free life” isn’t doing what you you feel like.  It only leaves you looking back with regret, void of seeing anything fruitful done with your life.   A. Dead. End.


“BUT! now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin (missing the mark) tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise!  A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with MORE life on the way.

Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death.  But God’s gift is real life, delivered by Jesus”. (Romans 6:22-23)

Stop pushing grace.  Stop seeing how much you can get away with.  Instead, discover the delight of listening to God.


When that happens?   The real life we keep hearing about can finally kick in.

Categories: a new spirituality
  1. February 17, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Great Post Connie! Really good thoughts.

    I’ve noticed this trend too: a freedom for freedom’s sake kind of philosophy. It always makes me think of “everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial.”

  2. February 18, 2011 at 4:33 am

    God bless you — and keep on going forward in HIM — the bubble bath in Abbotsford?? Martha and I saw that and had to chuckle more than once.
    Had no idea??

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