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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rice cake living

The Lord tells his secrets to his followers. He teaches them about his agreement. I always look to the Lord for help. Only he can free me from my troubles. (Psalm 25:14-15 ERV)
Another word for "agreement" is a much more formal one - covenant. It is always made between at least two parties, one of which is obligated to certain actions. In this case, God is the one who covenants with us - he is the one obligated to continually take certain actions based upon his unyielding love and unending grace. Our part in the agreement is to follow his teaching - to adhere to the principles that actually provide boundaries that will keep us safe. All of God's teachings contained within the scripture, even the bad stuff about those who chose not to adhere to them, is put there so we can learn to walk within these boundaries.
God uses example to teach as much as he uses words. He knows we often learn best when we can see it lived out in someone's life. This means we also have the ability to learn from those who choose not to follow his teachings - for their life is also an example of living "with" troubles.Yes, it is possible for one who chooses not to obey the teachings of Christ to move beyond troubles, but do they have the same unlimited peace as they go through them? Likely not! Do they come out on the other side of those troubles feeling the love and protection of God? Likely not. Yes, they "made it through", but making through under our own power is kind of like eating a rice cake - it lacks much "flavor".
God's covenant (agreement) with his followers is to always be there as an "ever-present help in troubles". That means we don't have to feel obligated to figure things out on our own. We can bring them to him, lean into him for wisdom in dealing with the trouble, and then take steps "with" him to get through the trouble. We don't just "get through" troubles when we walk them out with him, though. We "come through" with grace, wisdom, and a deeper sense of trust in his keeping power.
Since it is impossible for God to lie, his covenant is as "solid" as can be - it is an unbreakable agreement. Herein is the difference between standing on our own through troubles and walking "in him" --- one relies totally upon the mustered effort of mere human while the other relies upon the limitless effort of the Creator of all things. We limit the outcome of the trouble every time we choose to go through them apart from his grace and outside of his love. Both of these are given as part of his covenant and to choose to walk outside of those boundaries is to choose "rice cake" living. It may "fill the space", but it doesn't really satisfy all that well! Just sayin!