Some of the toughest things to confront in life, are the moments that challenge our world view. It's an interesting dichotomy, that although many of us desire to grow and to learn, we're all on some level very biased concerning what information we let affect our personal set of exclusive beliefs (these being our deep seated philosophical/ideological premises). And when we do let something in that challenges these beliefs, it's often times a pretty scary situation, because it presents us with the possibility that we might be mistaken in how we've been viewing the world.
This morning, I was reading Romans 7:8-9, in which Paul discusses the effects of the law and sin--"For apart from the law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died" (just to clarify, the "law" that Paul discusses here are the Ten Commandments). What I realized, is that it can be a very trying time when we're confronted with God's law, either for the first time or in situations when our lives are contradictory to it. Our natural tendency is to shut out the forces that challenge us, and it's really just an act of self preservation. We all want the safety of a manageable world view, in which we feel we're living "on the good side".
Yet what the law does is show us that the whole world isn't living on the right side--that we're actually blowing it BIG TIME when it comes to how God desires us to be living. And so we shut the law out, because when we're not living accountable to it, we feel alive as Paul says--we don't have anything telling us we're wrong. Nobody wants to feel repeatedly condemned their whole life when they mess up--it's really a horrible way to live!
This is where I think so many people stop, but the greatest revelation of the Bible is that God says there's one more piece to the puzzle...Jesus. And here's the big secret so to speak: we can never fully understand Jesus, his holiness, or the beauty and greatness of what he did on the cross, without letting the law into our lives. If someone tells you that Christ died for your sins, but you don't think you're a sinner, the obvious answer is, "cool story dude...so what?" But when we let the law show us who we really are in God's eyes, the cross becomes the most gnarly, the most beautiful, the most precious and loving gift that God could give...because now we understand what Christ died for: OUR sins.
There's a great verse in Matthew 11: 28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Such amazing words! The burden that Christ wants to lift, is the weight which the law puts upon us--the reality of our sin. And the bottom line is this: if we want to know Christ, we need to let the law humble us.
It's a big jump, but take Christ's word for it when He says, "I am gentle and humble in heart." God loves you. And if you want to know the depths to which His love goes, the first step is to open your heart to God's law. You'll be amazed how God will show you how crazy His love for you really is.