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Bas Rijksen

Imagine, for a moment, you’re on a strenuous hike, each step weighted down by a cumbersome backpack. This journey, much like the spiritual path many of us walk, is fraught with the heavy burden of legalistic obedience.

Welcome, dear friend. Are you weary from striving to meet what seems like never-ending expectations? You’re not alone. Today, we challenge a pervasive and heavy religious lie: ‘You need to be obedient to God.’

But let me tell you a profound truth: In the Father’s eyes, you’ve already reached the pinnacle. You’re not falling short or disappointing Him. Through His gaze of grace, you stand perpetually and perfectly obedient.

Picture a different scene: You’re resting in a sunlit meadow, free from burdens. This isn’t fantasy; it’s the reality of grace we’re about to explore.

As we embark on this journey, be prepared for revelations that will uplift and free you. Get ready for an enlightening adventure with 5 Grace Insights that will not only change your understanding but your entire faith journey and life. 

Let’s start this transformative journey together!

Understanding God’s Expectations

Before we delve into the 5 Grace Insights that can transform your entire life, it’s crucial we address a misconception weighing heavily on many: the myth surrounding God’s expectations. Let’s be crystal clear: God does not expect YOU to be obedient and live out His commands through your own effort. 

The truth we need to grasp is profound yet simple—God has no expectations of YOU in the sense of ticking off a list of obedience and commandments. He doesn’t watch over you, tallying successes and failures against His divine checklist.

Your spiritual journey isn’t about mustering the strength to be obedient. It’s about an effortless dance with Christ, letting Him lead, living His obedient life through you—as you. This isn’t a call to complacency but an invitation to discover the true source of obedience. 

This insight triggers two pivotal shifts:

  1. Firstly, embrace the truth that in Christ’s eyes, you embody obedience. This isn’t about earning a status; it’s about awakening to the reality of your identity in Him—a revelation that shifts everything.
  2. Secondly, step into the liberating realization that you are freed from the fear of failure. This isn’t about lowering divine standards but understanding that Christ embodies these standards on your behalf, lifting the weight of perpetual shortcoming.

Envision God’s singular expectation: that you would open your heart wide, letting His boundless love that resides within you effortlessly flow out. This act of allowing—not just receiving—ushers you from the shadows of guilt, shame, and condemnation into the radiant light of grace-based living, where freedom, love, joy, and peace don’t just visit but permanently reside.

With this understanding, let’s explore the 5 Grace Insights that will make your heart sing.

Grace Insight #1: The Illusion of Performance-Based Faith

From the early church to modern times, a misconception has crept into Christian belief – the notion that our relationship with God solely relies on our obedience. While obedience is a vital aspect of our faith, it is not the foundation. This view, which echoes the Old Covenant’s focus on adherence to laws, has overshadowed the essence of the New Covenant. As Romans 5:19 states, “By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous,” highlighting that it is Christ’s obedience, not ours, that grants us righteousness.

The Institutional Church System has often promoted this lie, emphasizing legalistic obedience over the grace of Christ. This system, sometimes unknowingly, mirrors the Pharisees’ focus on the letter of the law, rather than its spirit. As Jesus Himself said in Matthew 23:23, “You have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness.” 

This shows how institutionalized religion can veer away from the core of God’s message, sowing seeds of fear, guilt, and shame in the hearts of sincere believers. It acts like a burdensome chain, pulling them further from the freedom and joy inherent in Christ’s teachings.

Let’s consider the story of Jonathan, a believer burdened by the need for perfect obedience. His days were marked by anxiety, a relentless pursuit of an unattainable standard. This changed one quiet afternoon as he was lounging on his couch, absorbed in the teachings of Grace Gaze Academy. There, he realized that Christ’s obedience was his too. It’s kind’a like suddenly finding out that the heavy backpack you’ve been carrying was filled with rocks you never needed to carry. The relief, the sudden lightness, is profound and life-changing.

In this light, we see the Institutional Church System, not as a shepherd, but sometimes as a misguided traveler, pointing to a path of burdensome travel, rather than the restful journey Christ offers. It’s like being handed a map to a treasure you already own. Christ’s obedience is our greatest treasure, making our journey not one of striving, but of embracing what is already ours.

Grace Insight #2: The Truth of Christ’s Obedience

So, what’s the real deal here? Well, it’s all about this amazing truth: Christ’s obedience, believe it or not, is like a surprise gift that lands in every believer’s lap. It’s like when you receive an unexpected gift; you did nothing to earn it, yet it’s entirely yours. 

Imagine a flower blooming effortlessly in the sun, its growth fueled not by its own striving but by the light it basks in. Similarly, recognizing Christ’s obedience and our identity in Him doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to sin. Instead, it’s like the sun’s rays to the flower, naturally guiding us to reflect His love and holiness. This isn’t about earning God’s favor but responding in gratitude to the grace that shines upon us, causing us to flourish naturally in His presence.

Romans 5:19 puts it beautifully, saying, ‘For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.’ In simpler words, our standing before God isn’t about how well we play the game; it’s all about Christ’s perfect score. 

And here’s the kicker: This isn’t just about what Christ has done for us; it’s about who we’ve become because of Him. By receiving Christ’s obedience, we’re not just getting a pass – we’re getting a whole new nature. We’re obedient by nature, through Him. It’s not just a change in status; it’s a transformation of our very identity.

In God’s eyes, you are a beloved son or daughter, always 100% obedient, because of Jesus. His obedience is not just a gift; it’s your new identity.

Ever felt like you’re on a treadmill in your faith? Running and running, but the scenery never changes? That’s performance-based faith for you. It’s exhausting and futile. Imagine this revelation: Our salvation isn’t a grueling marathon of self-effort; it’s a triumphant celebration, a shift from relentless striving to joyfully thriving in the boundless grace bestowed upon us.

Take Sarah’s story, for instance. It’s like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy room. She spent years in a religious church that focused heavily on deeds as a measure of faith. It left her feeling drained, never good enough. But then, during her sessions with Grace Gaze Academy, everything clicked. When she understood that Christ’s obedience was hers, it was like finding an oasis in a desert. Suddenly, all the weight of trying to be ‘Miss Perfect Christian’ just melted away.

This revelation? It’s a total game-changer. It’s like discovering you’ve been trying to paint a masterpiece with a set of broken brushes, only to realize the masterpiece was already painted by the greatest artist, Jesus Himself. Our life in Christ is not a relentless pursuit of religious milestones; it’s a celebration of what He has already accomplished for us.

Grace Insight #3: Identity Transformed by Grace

Friends, I bet you’re pondering, ‘Hey, doesn’t the good old Bible tell us to obey God?’ Absolutely, it does. But think of it like this – it’s kinda like when a parent teaches a child to ride a bike. At first, the parent’s right there, holding onto the bike, but eventually, the kid’s zipping along on their own. That’s us in Christ. We’re not pedaling in fear; we’re cruising in the freedom of grace. You’re always in perfect balance, never swerving, because of Christ’s steady presence and obedience in your life.

But doesn’t the Bible say, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15)?

Sure, it says that. But here’s the real scoop: It’s not about sweating to follow His commandments; it’s about the love that just naturally leads to obedience. Picture a tree bursting with fruit, not because it’s straining to grow them, but because it’s healthy. That’s us with Christ.

Consider Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” This means Christ’s obedience becomes our obedience. We dwell not in the realm of our own striving, but in the fullness of His obedience. We experience life not as a struggle borne by us, but as a victory already won by Him.

Now, about 1 John 2:3-4, where it says, ‘Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.’ How do we square that?”

Here’s the thing: it’s easy to think this means we need to check off a list of commandments to know Him. But what if John is really talking about something deeper? What if keeping His commandments is more about living in a relationship of love and trust with Jesus, rather than ticking off a spiritual to-do list? It’s like knowing a friend so well, you naturally do things that make them happy, not because you have to, but because you want to. That’s the kind of ‘keeping’ John’s talking about.

If you’re curious to dive deeper into these liberating and enlightening Bible explanations, here’s what you can do, just visit Grace Gaze Academy. Once you’re logged in, navigate to ‘Identity in Christ Made Simple’ and select the video series on ‘How to Joyfully Embrace Obedience Without Striving.’ It’s all there waiting for you – insights, revelations, and a community of fellow seekers. Take this step and transform your understanding of grace and obedience.

Recall Sarah’s journey: once shrouded in the guilt and fear of legalistic doctrine, she struggled to meet its impossible standards. However, her life transformed when she embraced the radical truth of the New Covenant Obedience. Discovering that Christ’s obedience was also hers was like a bird being freed from its cage. Her faith soared on the updrafts of grace, liberated from the weight of performance.

Remember, In Christ, we’re not grinding it out to be obedient; we’re discovering how to live in the obedience that He’s already achieved for us. It’s like realizing you’ve been sitting on a winning lottery ticket. You’re not trying to win; you’ve already hit the jackpot with Him.

Grace Insight #4: Living From Love, Not For Love

Living in the freedom of grace means embracing your spiritual identity in Christ. Each day in this freedom is a day where you never let God down, never fall short of His expectations because, in His eyes, you are eternally, perfectly obedient.

It’s like finding out you’ve been a royal all along but didn’t know it. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Your daily life should reflect this gift, not as a burden, but as a joyful expression of your true identity. Start each day by affirming your identity in Christ: “I am loved, accepted, and perfectly obedient in God’s eyes because of Jesus.”

Consider the story of Michael, who lived under the shadow of constant guilt and striving. When he grasped the truth of grace, it was like stepping into the sun after years in the dark. He realized that his efforts to please God were like trying to pay for a gift that was already his. This revelation brought a profound peace and joy, transforming not just his faith, but his entire outlook on life.

In Christ, we’re like trees planted by streams of water, effortlessly bearing fruit (Psalm 1:3). Our ‘doing’ flows naturally from our ‘being’ in Him. We’re not scrambling to follow a set of rules; we’re living out the beautiful reality of our union with Jesus. It’s not about striving; it’s about abiding. In Him, we find the true essence of obedience: a life of freedom, peace, and joy.

Grace Insight #5: The Essence of Abiding in Christ

Dear friend, now’s the time for reflection. Think about your journey with God – the times you felt you failed or fell short. Reflect on the profound reality that it’s not about our striving for obedience, but about Christ living His obedient life in us, through us—as us. Our journey isn’t marked by our effort but by His life within us. Now, see them through the lens of grace: In those moments of stumbling or wrongdoing, God didn’t see disobedience; instead, He saw you as His beloved child, always in perfect obedience through the lens of Christ’s complete and flawless obedience.

Have you been climbing a steep hill of obedience, burdened by your efforts? Or are you walking in the lush valley of grace? Remember, it’s like discovering a hidden path in a dense forest – the path of grace that’s been there all along, waiting for you to take that first step. Let’s reflect on Romans 8:1, ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ How does this verse resonate with your current understanding of obedience and grace?

And if you want to delve deeper, I have something really special for you. My book, ‘Unburdened Obedience: The Path to Spiritual Freedom’, is not just a collection of pages; it’s a journey towards understanding and freedom. Think of it as your map to navigate the complexities of obedience and grace. Best part? This eBook is yours for free at Grace Gaze Academy, along with a teaching video series on this topic. I invite you to grab this opportunity. Embark on this exploration to deepen your insights and solidify your path in the freedom of Christ’s obedience.

This isn’t just about watching teaching videos or reading a book; it’s about unlocking the door to a life of unburdened obedience. It’s like finding the secret code that simplifies a complex puzzle. Your faith journey is about to take an exciting turn. Join us at Grace Gaze Academy, get your free videos and eBook, and let’s continue this incredible journey together. 

Remember, because His obedience makes you obedient, you never let God the Father down! You never make Him disappointed. You never fail! You are never out of line. You never fall short! Let this empowering realization be the foundation of your walk with God: You are perfectly obedient in the Father’s eyes because of Jesus, always, and forever. Amen. 

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