November 19

James 1

The law of liberty is a principle of freedom, free to live in Christ and the wonderful life He offers. Once bound to sin and death, now the Christian is spiritually alive and connected with God, recreated with a new nature! To live the God-life, live it free from condemnation, guilt, shame, and fear. Live it free from trying to earn God’s favor. Live it free from trying to perform well enough to be accepted. We are a free person, redeemed, and living for Christ in response to His love and with the help He provided through the Holy Spirit. We aren’t on our own anymore. We rely on Him, and from this position, we act in love and purity, especially to those who are weak, alone, and vulnerable.

The opposite of this freedom of faith is a Christian life of struggling to perform. It’s a life striving to try to rid oneself of wrong desires, tethered to temptation, bound to sin. This precious and loved person is in a relationship with God, but he or she lacks the freedom that grace provides. Our loving Father is grieved when we live by rules instead of a faith relationship. He’s grieved when we try to push those rules onto others. The way to live a life of faith is through grace! God wants us to know His rest and grow into a greater measure of His love.

Ezekiel 20-21

In chapter 20 we read about the rebellion of Israel and in chapter 21 we see how God uses Babylon as a sword.

Taking a day off is something we don’t always value, but to God, a Sabbath is more than taking time off. It’s an act of relying on Him and His grace. A Sabbath is rest from works, but it’s always illustrative of resting in the work God has accomplished on our behalf. The captivity was a result of sin, yes, but it was also based on the neglect of the Sabbath, as we see in chapter 20.

Again, in verses 26, 38, and 42, we see this phrase again, “know that I am the Lord.” It is impossible to read through the judgments found in Ezekiel without seeing the heart of God, which is repeated over and over – to know Him, to return to Him. His mercy never stops, and His love is unending. His love isn’t based on our behavior; it’s based on who He is. God is love, and nothing will ever change who He is. He isn’t looking for our performance. He’s looking for our surrender. We see this in both testaments!

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