Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Self effort, changed behavior and love

Some of my notes from early 2000.

1/00 God doesn’t change your behavior to make you suitable for salvation. God doesn’t change your character or behavior to comply with the law so that you now are able to live according to the law.

2/00 Law doesn’t change the heart. Adherence to it may change behavior (temporarily) because a person might fear punishment or consequences - but changed behavior does NOT mean a changed heart.

3/00 All of our self effort - added up and accumulated - comes nowhere close to even an ounce of grace. You have to let go of self effort and rely on God’s mighty hand and grace.

2/00 Love behaves naturally. If you have to force yourself to do something, it’s not real love.

You won’t live like a child of the King unless you have confidence in who you are in Him... unless you are sure of who you are. You gain this surety, not by what you do, but by what you believe (in whom you trust). What you do comes out of this trust. It's a result of this faith.

Any thoughts on any of this?


  1. Hi Joel,

    I am having battles with nearly everything you mentioned here. lol

    The first two really hit home at the moment. I struggle with resting in my mind. I know that I am not under law, but under grace, but I just feel it hasn't totally sunken in. Everything in my being wants to feel worthy for something. And when I sin under grace, I constantly feel like I am just using grace as license to sin or something.

    I really feel God loving mom through me in this difficult time for her. She broke her arm completely in two and is in a lot of pain, along with her depression. But it is a struggle to realize it isn't me doing it and to stop, like Steve McVey described in his book Grace Walk, working against the breathing machine that is to breathe for me. And when I do, then I start screwing up.

    And I also struggle believing and understanding that God loves me personally. I still feel that on judgment day, when He calls my name, I will feel that awesome wonder that He knows MY name. I fight to see how much He loves me and to know Him in order to love Him. The reason I choose to gratify the desires of the flesh like not praying, eating too much or whatever, it is because I don't realize how wonderful He is.

    I am experiencing every single thing you spoke of. It is definitely not the easy way to go. Grace is scarier than I first imagined.

  2. These are notes of mine from almost 8 years ago, but I have to tell you that I still 'struggle' with those truths too! I've grown in them, no doubt, and my trust in the truth has grown, but I'm just saying that the truth goes so far in the other direction of our flesh and against what is generally taught to us in many churches, so we need to be constantly encouraging one another in the truth!

  3. I have tried to improve my behavior and failed terribly. The more I tried the more I failed and thus became more frustrated. I am pretty sure this is true for many. But still people applaud when churches preach the law and call blasphemy when we preach Grace. Isn't that interesting?
    What an irony is that?

  4. Thoughts?
    Amen, amen, and amen! :-)

    This blog encourages me every day. I was once soooo steeped in legalism and now am so FREE! I continue to learn daily, to realize more fully the peace and rest found in His Grace.

  5. Bino,

    I was walking that same walk... trying to change my behavior and yet failing so miserably. It was very frustrating indeed. Kind of like my "law & chocolate" post from today, the more you try to resist temptation, the further it pulls you in. The more you try to modify behavior through rules and law, the more sin is enticed and the more your flesh pulls you the other way.

    It's no wonder that I had to get away from the law preachers in order to start growing!


    I also continue to learn daily, and it's quite amazing how, once you are free, you can never go back to that old bondage of legalism! Peace and rest... I love those words. :)