In Christ, everything—the law and prophets—were all summed up in the great commandment to love God and to love your neighbor. And even that was summed up in this “Love one another as I have loved you.”
There’s no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. Jesus said, “I want you to love one another as I loved you.” That means being willing to die. Not just going to the cross, but living the cross life, taking every opportunity we have to put other people first, putting into submission our own personal needs.
Out of scarcity, giving. That’s the cross life.
You can’t legislate a life like that. All of the laws of the Old Testament can be summed up as looking at the situation from your neighbor’s point of view. And better yet, looking at life from God’s point of view. What does God want accomplished here?
God set you free from a self-referential life. None of the religions of the world can set you free from yourself. Only the death of Christ, being crucified with him, raised with him, and set free in the world as people who’ve already died, and now they live no longer for themselves but for Him who died and rose again.
So all things are lawful in love. You can give it all in love. Nothing’s too much. You can go the extra mile. You can share your jacket and your shirt, too.
But here's the rub. A scrubbing bath to a kid who’s been playing in the mud is necessary; it’s loving—but it might hurt. God never said the cleansing process isn’t going to hurt. So, from the point of view of love, all the disciplines come in. And they come in rightly ordered. Rightly set.
As we write this, two red birds are playing on the Macadamia nut tree outside our window. They remind us of the song, Holy Now.