Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday Morning Leadership Devo

(Originally published on March 30, 2009)

Leadership and Law

Have you ever thought about how many laws we live under in our “free” society? Just think about it for a minute. Driving laws, tax laws, child labor laws, wage laws, church-state laws, school laws, public health laws, food laws, and I could go on and on. Why so many laws? Why do we even have laws? The answer to that question is: because we can’t behave ourselves. Every law that is written was created because someone, somewhere couldn’t behave properly. And so a law was created that we ALL must live under because a few people couldn’t discipline themselves to do the right thing. And this process of laws continues. Right now, new laws are being drawn up because of companies like AIG and people like Bernie Madoff. Because of their actions, we will now all have to live under new laws.

Of course, for those of us who do the right thing and live with self-restraint and consider others first, most of the laws aren’t that big of a deal. I probably wouldn’t speed through my neighborhood even if there wasn’t a speed law just because it’s not safe and I don’t want to hurt anyone. But I think we all (even the best of us) need some laws because nobody is self-disciplined enough to always do the right thing. The law keeps us in check. It keeps us good. It holds back evil.

This whole discussion of the purpose of laws becomes the focal point in the Book of Galatians. I did not have time to cover this section on Sunday mornings, but it is too good to just let it pass by.

Passage for Reflection: Galatians 3:15-25

This passage makes it pretty clear. The law exists to show us just exactly how bad we are and could be. I don’t know anybody who obeys all the laws all the time. Yes, I do speed sometimes. When I was 12 I lied about my age when going to the movies so I could get in for the kid price and save a couple of bucks. The reason we break the law is because we think one of several things:

· The law is stupid and deserves to be broken,
· This is a “little” law and breaking it isn’t that big of a deal.
· I won’t get caught.
· I’m basically a good person, but nobody’s perfect.
· I don’t care about the law, my “need” is more important than the law.
· This law doesn’t apply to me.

But no matter what our reasoning, we become a criminal the moment we break the law. Just because you don’t get caught doesn’t mean you’re not guilty. And on a spiritual level, God always catches you. You can never get away with breaking God’s law. His surveillance system is second to none. And not only are you guilty, but you are apprehended.

Violators of the law must be punished to the full extent of the law. Reparations have to be made. Things must be set right. God will have it no other way. The law comes from God and the law must be satisfied. But something else also came from God. A promise. This “promise” actually preceded the law and this “promise” stands above the law. What that means is that no amount of law keeping or law breaking can override the promise of God.

What is this promise of God? That you and I can inherit God’s Kingdom. That’s right. Just like a father leaves his wealth to his children, God has promised his estate to the children of God. But you cannot enjoy the inheritance from behind bars. The law must be satisfied. And that’s where Jesus comes into the picture. He steps in for you. He takes the punishment. He satisfies the law. He grants you and me access to the Kingdom.

The law enslaves. Jesus saves.

“Lord, thank you for your law, but more importantly, thank you for your promise. Amen.”


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