LIVING AT ARMS LENGTH
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7:6
“Your mother died.” When I heard those words spoken by my father, my whole world rocked. The life drained out of me at the implication. My next questions were, “How?” and “When?” And yet the words, “Jesus died!” can have so little meaning. Jesus, the One I say I love more than anyone else.
Two days ago, here in Athens, Georgia where I live, a group of men stole a car and put the driver of the car in the trunk, who was able to escape out of it while the car stopped at a red light. When the police caught up with them, one of them shot the police officer in the face. A back up unit arrived and this same man walked up to squad car, aimed his gun through the driver’s window and pulled the trigger, instantly killing the other police officer. (who was a Christian leader in a local church.) It has made national news. People are appalled. They feel the horror of the story and are asking, ‘why’ and ‘how’. It was unfair. And, it was a tragedy.
So now, let me hear the story of Jesus again. He died. My whole body sinks. “Why?” For you. “What do you mean?” He died because you were held captive and couldn’t be with Him. The only say to free you was to give His own life as a ransom!
As with any death that is personal to me, I feel sick. I grieve. Then I begin to understand that I don’t need to be separated from Him anymore. The chasm that used to keep us apart has been bridged. Slowly, I begin to take first tentative steps onto the bridge. Then my pace picks up. Finally, I run full speed toward the person on the other end. It’s Jesus. He’s not dead, but alive. He’s waiting for me, kneeling, arms open wide to welcome me into that place where we are never apart. We’re together, in my spirit. He’s closer than the air I breath.
Am I really living conscious of Him? Or am I still acting like I’m on the other side of the bridge, mechanically obeying the scriptures as though my life depended on it. Jesus died – tore the veil in two – and invites me to abandon my obsession with rule keeping. Instead, I get to enjoy living with Him. Obedience takes care of itself because perfect Love has that effect on me.
The prison of keeping the law is behind me. I belong with You and Your love can energize everything I do. I’m living in that reality, Jesus. Amen