Two modes of spiritual transport: flying is better

Two very different ways of serving God are described in the book of Galatians, and are brilliantly captured in a simple verse: If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Galatians 5:18

There’s the way of the law, and the way of the Spirit. The one is like slogging through the desert with a heavy load on the back, parched and exhausted, with no end in sight for the journey. The other way, recommended to us by Paul, is soaring effortlessly through the sky, carried by winds on outstretched wings. It’s the experience of exhilarating adventure, breathtaking speed and long vision of a glorious destination over vast and limitless horizons.

You can walk or you can fly. But you can’t do both. Continue reading

How much love are you experiencing?

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47

The story of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair and poured out expensive perfume on Him teaches an amazing truth. At first glance it doesn’t make sense – is Jesus’ forgiveness conditional on her love for Him? It can’t be. That would be contrary to the unearned, undeserved nature of God’s love that is so clear in Jesus’ life and scripture. The reality is that the woman ‘loved much’ because she had experienced much of God’s love first, expressed in Jesus’ unconditional acceptance of her, and His forgiveness.

Another puzzle: who is it that “has been forgiven little”? We know that Jesus never “forgives little” – that is also abundantly clear from what He taught. His forgiveness causes us to be completely clean (Col 1:22) and His patience with us is unlimited (1 Tim 1:16). Rather, “forgive little” in this verse reveals an amazing truth about human hearts and God’s love: it is possible to experience only a little of God’s love and a little of His forgiveness, possibly because like Simon in this story we self-righteously don’t think we need it, or simply because we don’t take the time to experience God’s love. It requires time to focus our faith, our “spiritual eyesight”, to see and experience God’s love. Continue reading