Unrestricted Jesus

There is a great article from RelevantMagazine.com that I discovered. I resonate with it enormously and feel that God’s been doing similar things in my heart. So it’s wild to see someone writing an article and saying the same things that I have said and felt in the past couple of years. Check it out at:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god_article.php?id=7214

no fat people

I was pondering Jesus’ words in Matthew about the narrow gate and path that leads to life and how there are few that find it, but the large gate and wide path that many will follow, leads to destruction and I began to see some things that I never had seen before. I had heard this scripture used to say that God requires us to be very narrow minded in our thinking (or even very closed minded), or even used in a legalistic or “fundamentalistic” manor and said that “it’s narrow because we have to fall in line and be holy by these certain guidelines, and if we step outside of those certain guidelines, we’ve gone down the wide path and to our destruction”. I don’t see it in either of those ways. As I read this scripture, I am reminded of Jesus’ call for unconditonal love and grace. Do we really understand what unconditional love is? Laying down our lives, our desires and our agendas for another, regardless of the condition. How often do we really do that? But, isn’t that what Jesus asks us to do…to take up our cross (lay down our lives for others) and follow Him (buy laying down our lives for others) Isn’t this the gospel of grace at its finest? It’s interesting to read those verses that appear just before and just after those verses in Matthew 7:13-14. Matthew 7:12, Jesus tells us to treat others as we would like to be treated. (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t absolutely desire to be loved unconditionally, especially when we look at ourselves in a true light and realize we don’t deserve it!). Then Jesus explains the wide and narrow path, which paints a picture that it’s very difficult to live a life full of grace in belief and practice, and few find it, because its a small gate and a narrow path; which is the path opposite the world’s path, which is very wide, and focuses on self and our own needs, wants and agenda, and when we focus on these things we are led to destruction. (History will tell you this story loud and clear). And it is interesting to me that the verse that follows these verses (vs. 15), speaks of false prophets that appear to be men of God, but are ravenous wolves, devouring people. I don’t know many people living out grace and unconditional love who are devouring people, but I have seen a lot of legalistic and judgmental christians that feast on others and tear them up like pieces of meat over issues that they consider more important than grace. I know we don’t all have it right. In fact, we probably get it wrong a whole lot, and so we are all so much in need of grace, but too often we are so willing to accept it humbly from God (and even expect it or take it for granted) then turn and practice a law that goes against Christ’s heart, and devour our fellow men and women with our words and/or actions. We need to be careful, because it was people that lived like that in Jesus’ time, that He lashed out against (those were the only people Jesus lashed out against), because they were more concerned about laws and rigidity and “holiness”, but were far from God’s ways of grace and unconditonal love which is the way to be truly set apart and be truly holy; by loving others as yourself…unconditionally. So it’s time to suck in our guts, squeeze through that skinny gate and start walking the path of holiness: the gospel of grace; then maybe we would lose some of that excess weight that we’ve gained by sitting there up on our high horses, gazing out over the kingdom that we’ve created for ourselves. (And by the way, besides being narrow, i believe that path most likely winds its way up a mountain as well, so it won’t take long for us to burn some calories:) –rock on