I came across this verse the other day while going through the book of James. (Have you ever read the book of James? It’s awesome. I just discovered it’s awesomeness myself more recently. I would highly recommend it.)
Anyway, the verse was this:
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” –James 1:25
First of all, it was just the word of encouragement I needed. A reminder to keep my eyes on Him and His word and let Him take the lead in everything. And I mean everything.
But the part of the verse that stuck with me, that I simply couldn’t shake was the phrase, “Law of Liberty”.
Law and liberty? Together? The two terms seem to contradict each other. Law suggests rules and regulations one is required to follow. Liberty suggests freedom and independence – free will – doing what you want – which doesn’t necessarily correlate with rules and regulations. So, how can there be such a thing as the “Law of Liberty”. That doesn’t make sense. The phrase is a paradox.
Ahhh… yes, it is a paradox to our way of thinking, but when you apply it to God’s laws? It makes perfect sense. God’s laws aren’t a series of rules, regulations and hoops we have to jump through to prove our worthiness and “goodness”. God’s laws have nothing to do with how long we pray or how hard we pray or if we choose the right words or how often we go to church or pitch in for the potluck or how righteous we try to be or all of our human striving to be “good enough”. God’s laws are there to protect us, guide us, comfort us… and yes, follow.
As Jesus himself said,
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” –Matthew 11:30
God’s laws and statutes are easy. They’re meant to be liberating and freeing. They don’t shame you or condemn you. They guide and correct and protect. Following God’s word isn’t always easy, but how wonderful to know that you are covered by His grace. You will never be good enough to earn His love and favor. He gives it freely without stipulation. All you have to do is invite Him in, and He’ll change you and your life from the inside out. Suddenly all those rules and regulations you thought you had to follow to be “good enough” fall to the wayside, and it’s His love and His grace that you receive. You don’t have to earn it. It’s just there. Pretty soon those “laws” you were so afraid of are simple guidelines He has set up to protect you. And with a renewed heart and mind, you find yourself wanting to follow them. However, you will never be perfect and you will fail and you will fall on your face time and time again, but again, you are covered by His love and His grace. So, you pick yourself up and try again. How liberating to realize you don’t have to try to “measure up” or be “good enough”. It’s His grace that saves.
That’s the law of liberty.