20 05 2010

Caedmon wears a device on each of his feet known as AFO’s, you might have heard us refer to them as his “boots.” They have very specific purpose and that is to force his feet into their proper alignment so that he can maintain some stability. Here’s the problem, his feet tend to want to do their own thing.

The Cerebral Palsy has affected his feet in such a way that his toes are almost always pointed. He is capable of relaxing them but it would be like you lifting your toes while you had 100 pounds tied them. Most of our feet, when relaxed, lie basically perpendicular to our legs. Caedmon’s might too, but he can almost never relax. He is to flexibility what Nascar is to turning right…

So we place his feet into the AFO’s and then velcro the straps down over the top of his foot, the joint of his ankle, and around his calf. Once he is strapped into his boots, he can sit or stand with his feet flat. Ideally we will get to a place where we no longer need to use the AFO’s but that is unlikely and probably a long way off. In the mean time we use the law… err AFO’s (did I let the cat out of the bag?) to get his feet to function properly.

This illustrates the dynamic of what the Bible refers to as the “law.” We aren’t talking about laws like this one from Georgia; “No one may carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket if it is Sunday.” We are talking about THE Law, God’s Law, thou shalt not kill and stuff.

Where this gets interesting is when Jesus came on the scene and claimed to “fulfill the law and offered grace to the world. Some people take the doctrine of grace, offer it a lollypop, jerk it into their van, and then drive it off into the woods and beat it. They live as if there were no law because “love covers a multitude of sins.” By their reasoning; we can lie, cheat, and steal all day long and just proclaim grace.

Other people see grace standing on the side of the road and are scared he has a knife in his pocket so they drive on by and leave him standing there. These folks tend to be a bit overbearing. Not only do they have a “Jesus fish” on their car, but they would tell you that Hell is promised for those who don’t.

I would argue that neither group is correct… hence the need for the AFO’s.

You see, our natural tendency is to self. We love us. But, God says that’s a bad idea. If I love me it is normally to the neglect of you which tends to disrupt relationships. Not only that, the love of the man in the mirror keeps us from loving the man on the throne, Jesus. This is what we are talking about when Christians use the S-word…sin.

Our natural inclination is not correct, neither is it helpful to our own well-being. God provided the Law to serve in much the same capacity as Caedmon’s AFO’s. It is a rigid, corrective measure that forces us to maintain the correct moral posture. Ideally we won’t always need the law but that is unlikely. The law provides that objective measure by which we can judge our behavior and motivations.

But, as we are all too plainly aware, we will not ever master the law. This is where Jesus comes in. He loves us knowing our inclination to self and desire for sin. He loves us more than we can really understand. You can tell your dog you love him all day long, but he really doesn’t get it. There is a gap in communication. Our communication gap with God is similar; we don’t fully get it.

The point is; without the law we would be walking around hurting ourselves and others without really knowing what was wrong.

Just like Caedmon’s AFO’s provide a feel for how it is supposed to work and, in turn, allow him the freedom to experience that much more.
God’s law provides for us, when applied, a feel for how life is supposed to work and, in turn, allows us the freedom to experience that much more.

God’s law informs us that something is wrong.
It provides the mold for us to conform our lives to.
And, it points us to Christ who overcame sin and promised us new life.

As Caedmon grows and we work on his flexibility and strength he may not need the AFO’s as much. When we put them on him now he gets red marks where his feet were resisting them and he gets blisters where his feet were rubbing against them.Eventually he may be able to put them on like you put on shoes, no friction, just the benefits.

I hope I grow spiritually much the same way. Some parts of the law really rubbed me the wrong way in years past, but now I embrace them. 

Maybe you have struggled with elements of God’s law? You might feel it is too restrictive or harsh. We have all felt that way at times. Some of it is difficult to accept. That just points out our need. If I chose not to use Caedmon’s AFO’s just because it felt restrictive or harsh we would never use them and he would suffer for it. The same is true morally and spiritually for us, we have to get past our “feelings” and trust the long-term benefit of God’s law.

While we keep trusting God’s law to guide our behavior; we trust Jesus to redeem our hearts. He is the only one who has ever lived that didn’t need AFO’s. His bent was towards obedience to God. Was he tempted, sure; but he never succumbed to it. He is perfect, He is God. This is how his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead are our rescue from this life of dysfunction.

Instead of cursing the Law, we should thank the law for revealing to us our need and then thank God for meeting that need in Jesus.

Thanks to Jesus; one day we won’t need the law and Caedmon won’t need AFO’s and that will be a great day!