Something that Jim and I are working through is the understandings of grace and freedom that is flying around at the moment and how that effects our lives and how we live it out on a daily basis with those around us.
We live in a society that is instant, that we have what we want whenever we want it. That its all about me and my freedoms of thinking, of speech, of rights as dictated by the law under a democratic system.
So how does that effect how we behave and think as a Christian under a 'Kingdom' system of authority, of servanthood and yielding, dare I put the word 'submitting', choosing to be a 'bond slave' for Christ?
Of surrending our rights so that the person alongside is built up and not made to feel worse because of where they are at which is not the same place as me?
I see it time and time again as we fight for our rights to be 'free' under Christ, start to walk in that freedom, then lord that freedom over other people and to a point of actually judging where another person is at in their walk, and in so doing putting yourself above others. And sometimes finding ourselves saying "well its your issue and not mine so you have to deal with it."
Paul writes about becoming all things to all people in order that he might win a few. How do we not put a stumbling block in front of our brother because we love him and so we willingly surrender our freedom of say for example speech and swear as we do in our freedom, but choose not to, because we know that it effects someone else perhaps because they are from a different generation and that is offensive to them and because we love our brother we don't want to do anything that might be offensive to them.
I myself have struggled with this as I love to preach, am called to preach and fly when I preach but in preaching and going into all different churches, different denominations, different belief systems, different places of where people are at and knowing the freedoms I have found in Christ, how do I bring that preaching and the manifestations of the power of God to the level of where they are at in way that doesn't cause offence but leads them higher without demanding of them to be at the same place I am at? It has been and continues to be a real challenge to me and one in which I am still asking the Lord to teach me and show me the way.
But it is something I want to grow in is the walking in the freedoms I have found in the Lord and at the same time still loving my brother or sister in such a way that I willingly surrender my freedoms in lifting them higher. I believe that is the call of Christians in loving is to lay down our lives for our brother. John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends". And of course we can't do this once again in our own strength but as I ask the Lord to show me how I may love people better he shows me things that I can do which builds relationships rather than tears it down, and he also shows me areas where I have caused offense in the past so that I can change the way in the future. God is soooo good that he has soooo much for us and those around us and as we lay our lives down he lifts us up!