Acts of Obedience: Loving the Law
By Savanna Lattanzi
“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
--James 4:11-12 (Read James 4)
When I became a Christian early in high school, my strategy was to play defense. I focused my energy on forming arguments which would not only validate my faith to others, but also those which would defend my opinions against other Christians. I sought out arguments to back up conclusions I had already come to before I knew the Lord. I had, and still have, a lot of pride. I didn’t yet understand that faith often means saying, “I don’t know, but I know God does”.
Because of this, I had a bad habit of judging if others around me were ‘real Christians,’ and at my worst, I even vocalized that feeling. I failed at loving Christians and non-Christians alike, and I had very little capacity for grace. Mistakes were lethal in my mind. I pondered the state of salvation of everyone around me and determined that the outlook was not good.
Luckily, the compulsive need to defend myself and effectively debate propelled me towards scripture. I surrendered more and more of my life to the Lord, knowing everything mattered less.
I asked the Lord to break my heart and make my will like His.
And when I did that, two things happened.
First, the Lord convicted me. In the midst of knowing that none of us measure up, I learned to love the law. Every day I spend time with the Lord, I feel like I understand more about His justice and goodness. I’ve become more sensitive to the evil that has emanated from the Fall and have begun to sincerely ask the Lord what I should do about it. If I’m honest, at first my flesh didn’t like a lot of things in scripture. The Bible is often countercultural, and sometimes I felt like God couldn’t possibly mean what was written. I still struggle to submit fully to the Lord in a lot of areas, but making an effort to give my feeble convictions to Him has made all the difference.
Internalizing the truth that the Lord holds me in the palm of His hand--even when I end up being wrong--has been game-changing.
Second, the Lord equipped me to love others a million times better. My heart has been softened by drawing closer to Him. He has taught me about His love for humanity, causing my compassion to grow immensely. The ability to recognize evil in the actions of others and nevertheless offer grace, frankly, is not a natural gift of mine. Chances are, it might not be yours either. Learning the ways of the Lord through scripture and prayer is the best way to start working on that.
So today, let’s take a small step together towards growth. Read the first chapter of Romans or John or Proverbs—or really anything. Pray over the scripture when you’re finished. Such simple acts of obedience will make all the difference.
—Savanna Lattanzi serves on Discipleship Team and is a Small Group Leader on Cornerstone Leadership.