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The Secret Advantage of Ex-marchers

Real slavery is living your life trying to gain favor; real freedom is knowing you already have favor. —Tullian Tchividjian

It’s confession time. It’s time to figure out if you’re wired to march. Does the following statement ring true for you? People around me think I’m committed to Jesus; but really, I’ve been committed to convincing others that I’ve got this religious life perfected. I’ve been marching—trying to win favor through performance and compliance.

If the answer is yes, yes, and yes, then it is time to stop the march and start the dance. But how?

How do I learn to dance when all I’ve known is the stiff obedience to marching orders?

Let me tell you what worked for me:

  • Stop trying.
  • Start trusting.
  • Repeat.

And then recognize that God has given some advantages—a learning curve, if you will—in these dance lessons.

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 2:15-16a)

Paul is reminding the Galatians that they have the advantage of the law. For generations, their nation had followed the law, yet the law had never been able to save them. Jesus did the saving.

What was the advantage of having the law? To realize the law was no advantage.

Paul’s words apply to another religious audience today—church people. So many times, I have heard, “Pete, I grew up in church. I never met Jesus there and I never heard the Gospel.” Yet I imagine that church was full of busy people—people busy trying to perform and please God. Busy being utterly exhausted—so tired that a person secretly wishes he or she could skip church just one Sunday and get some rest.

That’s not a dancing church family. That’s a marching church family. That’s a family unaware of their advantage: They’re free from performance.

Father, my need to perform has kept me from dancing. Show me something new to surrender each day—a new way to trust You. Help me learn to dance. Amen.

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