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Living Out of Relationship
While writing my sermon this past week I kept thinking about an illustration I first heard from Jack Exum. (For those who don’t remember Jack Exum, don’t worry about it. I’m definitely showing my age.) The illustration was about a woman who was married to a terribly abusive man. Every day before the man left for work he would go over a list with his wife detailing what he wanted her to have accomplished before he came home. In the evening he would go over the list again making sure she had done everything.
After ten years of living in fear the woman’s husband had a heart attack and died. Eventually she remarried. Her new husband was the exact opposite of her first husband. He was kind and loving. He appreciated and respected his wife. The woman was happier than she had ever been in her life. One day, while cleaning out a pile of papers it fell to the floor . . . The List. She picked it up and began to read the items. She realized she was doing everything on the list. The difference was what she once did out of fear, she now did out of love.
Exum used this to illustrate the difference between living under law and living under grace. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we can live in relationship to God. The sermon on the mount give us a very challenging way to live. Living it as a response of love to a God who deeply loves us makes it, not a burden, but a joy!
Why would anyone choose the “do-it-yourself” religion of the Broad Road when the Narrow Road leads to life? Living Jesus is not simply doing good works in Jesus’ name. Living Jesus begins by being in relationship to Jesus and letting him live through you.