My brother is fortunate to live on a beautiful Ontario lake, but also to be surrounded with good friends and neighbours. Not long ago, the kayak of a neighbour floated off in the night, not being securely tied. The next morning, a friend went out in his motorboat and carefully scanned the shore for the missing craft. Finally, across the lake and nestled in fallen branches at the shoreline bobbed the bright turquoise kayak. He towed it back to its grateful owner, who since has carefully kept it tied up.
In our day, there are those who like to think of themselves as very spiritual, but not religious. For them, being spiritual is praying in their own way to their own deity, without rules and formulas which are manmade, therefore not of God. To reject organized religion seems more freeing and energizing. But what is the difference between being spiritual and being religious? The apostle Paul spoke much of the confines of the law, and spiritual freedom. “Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under a guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:23-25 ESV)
The law served to give justice and consequences for those who went against God, but it was also given so that His people could know how to live, and see God’s nature. Jesus came to us to save by faith, because He ends the life of rules and regulations, to let us see that life isn’t about being good enough or keeping up the traditions, but about believing in Him. We belong to a community of faith, because once Jesus becomes our Lord, we are inwardly changed, and we want to be with others who believe in Him too. The Holy Spirit now guides our lives, and what was once obedience to the law has become the walk of faith.
When we meet people with floating and shifting beliefs, like that drifting kayak, how do we respond? Perhaps we can begin by admitting that Christians at times build up walls to a life with God, by emphasizing traditions over faith, or judgment instead of forgiving, even gender over a true spiritual gift. Are we really living a life guided by God’s love, and is the day to repent and commit our lives once again to Him?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that we have become children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Help us show that love and faith to those who need to meet Him and join the community of believers. Amen.