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How I Freed Myself from Biblical Limits

What I do when I get trapped in the pharisaical maze of having to do everything right.

It was nearing eight o'clock, and my sinful flesh was screaming for me to catch up on Grey's Anatomy before drifting off to dreamland. On this particular evening, I nearly skipped my Beth Moore Bible study lesson, but something, or more accurately, someone, kept nagging at me.

I knew I'd feel guilty if I chose McDreamy over McSavior, so my Bible study won by default, and I proceeded to take part in a lesson on the meaning of diligently seeking God.

Citing Hebrews 11:6 and Revelation 4:11, the study concluded that our chief purpose in life is to please God, and the primary means to that end is having faith. With my heart and spirit truly refreshed by this truth, I was ready to tackle the "Faith Journal" at the end of the lesson, where the following fill-in-the-blank was posed:

"Lord, I want to please you, but . . . "

There they were—seven words that stirred my soul and subsequently kept me up all night. The Sunday school answers of "sin" and "pride" could have both answered the question, but those weren't good enough for me. Sure, there are all sorts of sins that hinder my ability to please my perfect, sin-hating Savior, but I wanted to be more specific. And of course, so many things fall under the umbrella of pride—laziness, selfish desires, and skewed priorities, to name a few.

There they were—seven words that stirred my soul and subsequently kept me up all night. The Sunday school answers of "sin" and "pride" could have both answered the question, but those weren't good enough for me. Sure, there are all sorts of sins that hinder my ability to please my perfect, sin-hating Savior, but I wanted to be more specific. And of course, so many things fall under the umbrella of pride—laziness, selfish desires, and skewed priorities, to name a few.

Then it came to me: "Lord, I want to please you, but . . . I often get caught up in 'biblical limits.' I feel restricted in the freedom of my faith because I so badly want to do right—to follow the rules as an act of obedience."

Wow, I thought, that was a deep reflection—even for me!

Part of me feels like a well-intentioned Pharisee. As someone with a pretty clear understanding of right and wrong, obedience to biblical principles often ranks at the top of my to-do list. However, with my desire to do the right thing comes a monster dose of guilt at the slightest violation of any rule—I was the young child who simply needed a disappointed look from my mom or dad to make my eyes well up with crocodile tears.

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From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2012, November
Posted November 8, 2012

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