Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love God and Do What You Want

To continue the discussion on grace, i want to quote what I heard Jay Bakker say in a radio interview the other day.

"Grace means, 'love God and do what you want'". I'm sure that when many people heard that they gasped and as some of you probably did when you just read it. But I couldn't agree more.

Jay was paraphrasing St. Augustine of Hippo who said, "Love God, and do what you like." (maybe knowing good ole Augustine said it will help ease the tension a little, maybe)

I have to say I couldn't agree more... because this is my experience with grace.

I've grown up hearing about and even talking about grace... But it has always been a conditional understanding of grace (which defies the very definition of grace). You have to do ___________ ,ask, receive, accept, in order to "get" grace. This understanding makes grace conditional whether you want to admit it or not.

Now I know many christians are scared to talk "too much" about grace because they think it gives people a license to sin. And technically they are right... It doesn't matter what you do, God loves you the same. "Paul addresses this issue when he says, so should we keep on sinning so grace may abound", apparently people had the same concerns about the radical grace paul was preaching too).

It wasn't until this concept actually hit me that I really began to love Christ and wanted to (try to) follow him. It wasn't until I realized that I could do whatever I wanted and yet God loves me the same, that changed my life.

And that's what grace does... It changes you. So, as Jay pointed out, when you realize the grace you already have and muster up enough faith to actually believe it's true (not easy accepting your accepted) then you end up desiring to follow Jesus, which means loving God and loving others.

So i have to agree with St. Augustine and Mr Bakker... "love God and do what you want."


melissa said...

i agree....because just like we discussed....if you love god...your {wants} will begin to align with {HIS}. there is great freedom in knowing god loves me no matter what i do and that i can do {what i want} and that love never changes.

great post.

JustinGaynor said...

Interesting. I'm sure Bakker has the best intentions, but I couldn't disagree more. That's a dangerous teaching,Paul never taught that, neither did Jesus.

The grace of access is not the grace of kinship/adoption, the grace of the indwelling of the Spirit.

Jesus said love God and love your neighbor as yourself (not do what you want). I'm sure the wicked servant who got off the hook 'loved' (in the eros sense) the King who let him off the hook. But then turned around and did what he wanted. The King was not only upset, but took away the previous grace that was extended.

The Kings grace toward us is an investment in the Kingdom, if that investment goes south or does nothing...he will take what was given and what is due him. (see parable of the two that came to pray, the wicked servant/parable of the talents...the kingdom of God is like this, whether we are comfortable with that or not)

Much more...but gotta run...have a great day!!!

Matt said...

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). Augustine said, “Love God and do as you please.” By really loving God, your desire will be to do what pleases him.

Jkub said...

Yes, as I said when we are ma aware of grace and truly love god then we want to follow him. We can not love god with out loving our neighbors and we can not love our neighbors without loving god. I think they go hand in hand. If you say you love God but hate your brother you are lier. They will know us by our love for one another.

Those who truly love God will not mistreat others or want to.

And God does love us just as we are and thats whee grace finds us, where ever we are... (But it will not leave us there.)

Jkub said...

I think where I am aiming at Is the way people feel the need to control others... All the sin management that goes on... I simply trust God to work in the life of others.... It's not my job but the spirits.

JustinGaynor said...

Matt, wonderfully encouraging psalm.

I the inverse true or a perversion?

"Seek the desires of your heart and the Lord will delight in you."

If not, why not?

We're coming together on this one Jkub, the Lord is Faithful. Couldn't agree more that Loving God and loving our neighbor (including enemies) are absolutely integrated. You cannot starve one and not impoverish the other. The Lord is one.

In this context, God does not love us where we are in the romantic sense, he loves us where we are in the 'weeping and up all night because it's 4 hours past curfew and he hasn't gotten a call only to find out from the State's attorney (whom he does not like)we are in prison for male prostitution, shot up with heroine and $250k in debt to an international mafia for gambling.'

It is absolutely not our job to manage other people's sin. It's our job to put our own to death while entering into the battle with our brother and sister suffering along side them in power.

This is tricky I confess, and many abuse this honored and humbling position we have in someone else's life.

However, with all due respect to Augustine, I don't think a simple move of reverse psychology (tell them to do what they want and expect them to listen closer to hear His voice and do what they ought)is an effective means of spiritual warfare.

Then again, I also don't agree with him that just because complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation, that complete abstinence is God's will.

It is our job to work in one another's lives in the Holy Spirit. That's what Jesus taught us to do. That's what we see in Paul's life and writings. That's what we see especially in the Revelation to St. John which is a frickin' sword of spiritual warfare. A work of unmatched 'theological psycology' and power that absolutely commands transformation at the deepest levels. Blessed are those who read that aloud and those who granted the grace to truly hear it.

ps God's empowered you to help me overcome and battle sin in my own life on numerous occasions. So I praise God for you. Thank you for the water.

The Lord is One.

Grace and peace.

3 more days!!!