Digging Deeper into Lesson 14
Discerning the Enemy: Head to Heart Guide
The gospel gives us a clear choice: We can live under law or under grace. Too small an idea of the Blood, the love and the mercy that cover us creates an often unrecognized inner compulsion to be covered by our own efforts to be righteous.
Living under Law
Living under Grace
Rising easily into judgment of others
Loving to intercede for them
Sinking easily in condemnation of self
'Spring boarding' from sin into Presence
Shocked that others don't get it
Surprised and delighted when they do
Covering up mistakes and errors
Honestly admitting them
Holding on to memory of failure
Untroubled by failure or shame
Trying so hard to be right (all the time)
Content just to trust and obey
Hard on self
A friend to self
Expecting too much of others
Delighted by any goodness
Surprisingly, the enemy seeks to train us to live by the laws of God, as well as the "law of sin." How can this be? Clearly, if we become subject to the law of sin we will be compromised by unrighteousness, but if we put our focus upon the laws of God, we risk becoming compromised by either self-righteousness or self-condemnation. Either way he has us sidelined. Very sneaky!
There are only three conditions of righteousness:
1) Un-righteousness: not trying to live by God's laws. This is the typical snare of non-religious people.
2) Self-righteousness: trying to live by God's laws, but in one's own strength. This is the typical snare of religious people. The best way to recognize this pattern in oneself is by:
a) Stress levels: Worry, tension and anxiety always indicate a lack of confidence in the grace of God as our covering; we are trying to live by "trusting" Self instead!
b) Judgment levels: Because we are working so hard at being right, we naturally fault those who aren't matching up with our "progress."
3) God's righteousness is very different. It fulfills God's laws by living in the Spirit - the new way of life offered to us by the gospel of grace (Galatians 2:20). God's righteousness works in us and through us as we surrender, trust and follow (allowing His Spirit to lift us and lead us). His righteousness reaches out to cover, love and pray for anyone caught in a sin or offense. Self-righteousness, on the other hand, always takes offense and judges.
Little children live with God's kind of righteousness. Yes, they need a "tutor" to lead them back to the law whenever they depart from being in the Spirit, but they do not need anyone to teach them how to live as little children. They get that from the Lord as they live with trust, love and openness in their hearts - the way it is meant to become for us (Matthew 18:3).
The new life "operates" on:
100% grace: God covers us and surrounds us with everything we need.
100% surrender: We trust whole-heartedly to the grace given us.
100% guidance: We submit entirely to His leadership and flow in His Spirit.