Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 5:12-21 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: In yesterday’s Daily Walk, we discovered that the law has no power to save us, but it sure does have power to condemn us, even to destroy us.
Laws are funny like that. Whether it’s a natural law or a law that God has given us in His word, the consequences of ignoring that law can be devastating. Paul writes, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
God has given us the freedom to do or be anything we want to do or be. But just because we have freedom doesn’t mean that what we choose to do will benefit us or the people around us.
What we sometimes fail to understand is that God’s principles of love, grace, mercy, long suffering, temperance, gentleness, and kindness aren’t restrictive, but liberating.
When I was a kid, we had a dog named Tippy. Tippy was the most loyal dog I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t get on my bike and ride anywhere in the neighborhood without Tippy following close behind. She slept at the end of my bed. She was always by my side.
This loyalty was cute, but also potentially deadly. If the family were to get in the car and drive anywhere, we’d see Tippy running behind us at breakneck speed, trying to be with her beloved family. So my dad built a fence.
The fence was an irritant to Tippy. She saw it as an obstacle to doing what she used to have the freedom to do. So she did everything she could to break out of the fence when we drove off. She’d dig under it, jump over it, and do anything else she could to get on the outside of that fence. It took a while, but my dad finally figured he’d made the fence Tippy-proof.
Then one day as we drove home from a Sunday morning breakfast in town, we saw Tippy’s body on the side of a busy road just outside our neighborhood. Tippy had won her “freedom” and paid dearly for it, as did our entire family.
God’s laws are not meant to steal our freedom but to give us the best of everything. Keeping the law of Christ can’t save us, but ignoring it sure can damage us, sometimes irreparably. Ignoring the law of Christ is taking our life into our own hands. Keeping the law of Christ gives us more peace, more love, more gentleness, more self control and more patience. It doesn’t save us, but it sure makes life worth living.
Recalibrate: How can staying within the laws and will of Christ make your life better? Can Christ’s laws and will hamper your freedom and bring you less joy?
Respond: Pray to have a heart filled with God’s law of love.
Research: Check out this article on the joy of loving God’s laws.
Remember: “As one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” (Romans 5:18, ESV).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Pacific Union College Church in Angwin, CA. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mark has served as a youth pastor, Bible teacher, college and academy chaplain, and lead pastor in the United States and Canada for the last 33 years. He has also authored four books: Born Chosen, Live Out Loud, Portals, and Just Jesus.
Play a balancing game with whatever you have handy, maybe some Jenga blocks or maybe some plastic plates, spoons, and cups. Explain to your child what it takes to make something balance. There has to be equal weight on each side. Sin made everything unbalanced, and when things are unbalanced, they fall apart. Jesus brought balance back to the world when He came and died on the cross for us.
Play a game of how long you can balance on one foot. Have your mom or dad time you and see how long it takes before you have to catch yourself with your other foot. It takes a lot of balance to stand on just one foot! Sin made things really unbalanced in the world. It made Adam fall—and sometimes it makes you and I fall too. Jesus loved us so much that He wanted to bring things back to the way they should be—back to a place of love and goodness! What did Jesus do to bring the balance back to this world? He died on the cross for us! Jesus was willing to do whatever it takes to bring things back to the way they should be.
For those of you that drive, have you ever been on a road that did not show the speed limit? My wife is from Iowa and I never know how fast im allowed to drive. they for some reason never list the limit. A few years ago I was driving to her parents and suddenly I saw the blinking and flashing lights of the cops pull up on me. The cop came over and asked, “Don't you know how fast you are going!” I said yes, but then replied, “But how am I supposed to know how fast I should go?” I've learned to love the law of God in my life because it shows me where I need to be with God. It shows me His expectations and His desires. Once I know them it makes it easy to understand how to please God! I dont keep the law to be saved. I keep the law because I am saved and I want to be in the lane where Jesus is.