Enjoy it but don’t abuse it

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery … You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:1;13 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Enjoy it but don’t abuse it”
Many years ago, as the pastor of a church in another part of the country, I was witness to an interesting contrast of faith practices between three different women in the church. Two were middle-aged and one was a senior citizen. One was the proverbial “Church Lady” as depicted in the old Saturday Night Live skit by Dana Carvey. She was prim, proper, fussy, and nitpicking. She was sour as a lemon and she always had an opinion to share and a complaint to voice.
Another (the senior citizen) was a wonderful sister in Christ. She was carefree, happy, and a big blessing to everyone. The third was superficial in her faith. She was often involved in conduct that was questionable at best, and sometimes outright sinful.
The first lady was a legalist and a modern-day Pharisee. She was also a very unhappy person. The third lady was guilty of what Dietrich Bonhoffer once called “cheap grace” – it was an abuse of grace. She too was a very unhappy person. But the other sister had found the sweet spot in her relationship with the Lord. She had learned how to live free in Christ without being legalistically tied to a long list of rules and regulations, but also without abusing the grace of the Lord and engaging in unbiblical conduct.
That right there is a key element in learning how to minimize anxiety and despair in our lives. We must learn how to live free in Christ, by grace, without being legalistic and without abusing that freedom. This comes with spiritual maturity. It’s something you grow into. You have to want it and you have to be willing to put forth the effort to develop it. There are things we need to do in order to facilitate our spiritual growth and to live free in Christ.
This morning, I would like to recommend two resources for your personal study that I believe you will find helpful. The first is Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Henry Blackaby. That 12-week Bible study will go a long way towards helping you to learn how to live free in Christ without abusing that freedom.
The other is “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” by Philip Yancey. This study will help you to appreciate the full scope of God’s amazing grace in your own life, and how to extend that grace to others.
It’s essential for us to throw off the chains of legalism and learn to live free in the grace of God, but to do so without abusing it.
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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