Live By Law or By Grace?

No matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to shed our need to live by law rather than grace.

This week, I came across an excerpt from an article written by Geoffrey A. Fowler and Shira Ovide.  It appeared in The Wall Street Journal last April and was entitled “Sit Up Straight, and Other Advice From Big Mother.” In the article, Fowler and Ovide explored the new wave of electronic gadgets and smart phone apps that “remind, cajole, pressure, threaten, judge, and nag us about what we’re supposed to do and how to punish ourselves when we fall short.”

SowerArticle 01-16-2014For instance, a new smart-utensil called the HAPIfork (pictured here) measures how fast you eat while it prods you to slow down and chew. A company called Automatic offers a device that will chirp when a driver speeds, slams on the brakes, or does other things behind the wheel that your mother wouldn’t like. For $50, you can buy a toothbrush that wirelessly tells a phone app how often and how long you brush your teeth. The phone app sends the user rewards and punishments based on brushing behavior. A webcam software program called PostureTrack will catch you slouching and a website called Beeminder will tally fines for undesirable behaviors such as not flossing or staying up too late.

One device-user said that the digital nagging can “kind of run your life.” Another user said, “It’s now possible to have a device in the background of your life recording everything you do.”

It interests me that people long to change their behavior enough to foster the growth of this “guilt-gadget market.”  It proves what I said Christmas Eve: all people instinctively know that they are fallen and they long to be forgiven and restored. They want to be better.

But the fact is, nothing external will help. What we need is not external prodding, but inner change. That only comes through Jesus. When we put our faith in Him, He comes into our hearts and changes us, not through performance, but through His grace. As Paul puts it in Galatians 5:4: “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”

As Christians, we don’t need an external app or a gadget.  We have Christ IN US, the hope of Glory.

Keep the SON in your eyes!

Categories: A Pastoral Word

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