Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dearly We're Bought

I finally finished A Scandalous Freedom (by Steve Brown) this morning. It was fabulous. Very challenging. Definitely one to read again, perhaps next time with T. Check out the quote below...

"No good work can rely upon the Word of God or live in the soul, for faith alone and the Word of God rule in the soul. Just as the heated iron glows like fire because of the union of fire with it, so the Word imparts its qualitites to the soul. It is clear, then, that a Christian has all that he needs in faith and need no works to justify him; and if he has no need of works, he has no need of the law; and if he has no need of the law, surely he is free from the law.

What man is there whose heart, upon hearing these things, will not rejoice to its depth, and when receiving such comfort will not grow tender so that he will love Christ as he never could by means of any laws or works?...Behold, from faith thus flow forth love and joy in the Lord, and from love a joyful, willing, and free mind that serves one's neighbor willingly and takes NO ACCOUNT OF GRATITUDE OR INGRATITUDE, OF PRAISE OR BLAME, OF GAIN OR LOSS. FOR A MAN DOES NOT SERVE THAT HE MAY PUT MEN UNDER OBLIGATIONS. HE DOES NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN FRIEND OR ENEMIES OR ANTICIPATE THEIR THANKFULNESS OR UNTHANKFULNESS, but he most FREELY and most WILLINGLY spends himself and all that he has, whether he wastes all on the THANKLESS OR WHETHER HE GAINS A REWARD. As his Father does, distributing all things to all men richly and freely." -Martin Luther

"So many people are so bound - so angry, so aftraid, in such need of APPEARING RIGHT AND RIGHTEOUS, so condeming, so bound by rules and regulations, so lonely, so afraid that someone will reveal their secrets, so sure that God is angry at them, so empty, in such doubt - and they can't tell anybody." -Steve Brown refreshing. I keep score. I am bound. I am all those horrible, sinful, wretched things, and I plead with God - right now, free me from my complete self absorption. I know I am fully accepted and loved by You. Please help me to live that way.

I'm just grossed out with myself. I do something in love - and I'm not appreciated. So I want, more than anything, to retaliate. To cut that other person. Oh, sometimes I shrug it off, the lack of appreciation, that is. But other times, I scheme for ways to hurt the other person, the same way I've been hurt by them. I list out their faults. I reason with myself, declaring them wrong on multiple levels. I'm a deranged sinner. Wow, so I really do things in LOVE, huh? It's embarrassing to admit this, especially considering the fact that I have no clue how many of my church friends read this blog (and of course, we wouldn't want to confess our sins to one another, that's not scriptural or anything...), but years ago when we'd first moved here I gave a nice gift at a baby shower. I was proud of what I'd given and would've loved to receive something similar. Growing up, I'd had thank you notes ingrained into my being. At the end of this shower, someone spoke up and said, "As a last gift we'd like to give you, do not write any of us a thank you note. You've publicly thanked each of us and that is plenty. So cross that off your list. No thank you notes."

I was incensed! Outraged! I'd spent hard earned money on that gift. I hardly even knew this girl. And here some stranger was freeing her from the responsibility to write a thank you note. Ugh! I was angry. How dare she. I want a thank you note. Dang it. Write me a thank you note. That's the least you can do for what I just did for you. At least take the' time to thank me. I called an older lady in our church and I expressed my outrage. Wow...while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Who the heck did I think I was? My rights. Given in love??? Oh my, God has certainly done a miraculous work in my heart since that time. Oh the freedom that accompanies dropping the score cards. If only I could leave them behind and never have the urge to reach back and lift them once more.

As I read what Luther had written and then Steve Brown's comments on the matter, I thought to myself how wonderfully refreshing it was to read something like that. How my heart needed that. To take no account of gratitude or not anticipate thankfulness or freely spend myself (or my money) regardless of gaining a reward (being thanked). To live as Christ - to give of myself without keeping record. Oh the blessed freedom. God, please, do this work in my heart and life. Change me to love freely and to let go of the wounds I've inflicted on my own heart, over my own need to be lifted high. After all, that IS how You love.


  1. Amen! Here's to transparency sister! There are a lot of us out here that crave appreciation and need to confess it to ourselves, to our Father, and to each other.
    Love you.

  2. The Steve Brown comment just solidified my faith and unbelief today. Thank you for that so much. I didn't know how to put it in words, and he did so very well.