On a Glyndley Manor team day recently, after enjoying a walk through the bluebell woods and a pleasant lunch by the side of a lake, we played a game of rounders (the game is a sort of mixture of baseball, softball and cricket).
Rounders is a rather English game, and our team is made up of several nationalities, with the result that not everyone knew the rules, or what the object of the game is. A few folk had some idea, and tried to help things along, but the problem was they didn’t all agree. We’d anticipated this, so we’d looked online for a set of rules to help us, but there were several different ones, including one which told us what to do if you ‘fluff it’!
The outcome of all this was disorganised chaos, resulting in an early conclusion to the game. We pronounced it a draw and went back to Glyndley Manor for fish and chips.
However, it made me think about working together in godly order. For unity in a team there needs to be some order governing the way we operate. How we make this work is sometimes a problem. We know we need to be in God’s order, but how do we do this?
Sometimes we can be too legalistic as believers. It’s right to refer to the biblical order and God’s rules, but we’re called to use God’s law graciously. It’s comparatively easy to tell someone where they’re going wrong, and quote chapter and verse to prove it, but sometimes it’s more helpful to encourage one another. We can do this by looking together at their actions, reviewing them, and seeking to help them see where these might be in conflict with the heart of God. Law needs to be applied with grace.
We can all have opinions about what’s right, but the word of God gives us principles to help us follow God’s way. We need God’s order in our lives, but how we maintain that order is not to be a matter of confusion or legalism. Paul even says that ‘all who rely on observing the law are under a curse’ (Galatians 3:10). He is, of course, referring to those who seek salvation by keeping the Old Testament law.
Thank God for his Holy Spirit, who enables us to apply those godly principles of order in a gracious way in everyday life. So, enjoy your next game of rounders, whatever the rules!
Prayer: Father God. We want to live our lives in Your way and order. Help us to be gracious as we help each other to keep within Your ways, without being legalistic, but rather seeking to follow Your heart in our relations with each other. Amen.
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