In our life, as we go from recognizing where we are at with an idea of where we want to be, we need to be able to understand what we are permitted to do. If we don’t realize all of the permits we have, then we will have a slower progression and not grow as efficiently towards our goal. The next step is knowing that the work can be done.
In construction, either new or remodeling, you need permits. The permit describes what you can or cannot do within the given parameters; it grants you the permission you need for the work to begin and go forward to completion. The issuer of the permit is the one that gets to decide the extent of the work and when inspection needs to happen. You can offer your ideas of what you want to do, but it is up to the issuer who has the final say. Our “Issuer” has given us permits to live our lives. His desire is to become like what He has created us: His image.
We all probably know people who will not lift a finger unless they have been given explicit permission to lift that finger, and how high to lift it. We have watched others act on something and then ask permission later. Or is that forgiveness? Either way, in whatever they are doing their actions need to fall within a particular set of rules, guidelines, etc. If they step outside of those boundaries, there will be consequences ranging from simple fees, the proverbial slap on the wrist, to more extreme punishments or lifelong consequences. If you are trying to accomplish a task and you don’t want to face any form of punishment, it’s necessary for you to know what you are permitted to do.
When it comes to our whole self, if we think we have more permits that we actually do, then we are treading on thin ice towards an inevitable fall. By understanding the permits that we are given and do have approval for, we start to see how the work in us can actually be done. If we thought we were a lost cause, then now, through the permits given to us by God, we see that the work can be accomplished.
Having a permit gives you power and it gives you freedom. You have the power to do the action you are wanting to accomplish. You have the freedom from consequences because you are doing something inside the limits set before you. What permits do we get from God in order to live in a manner that shows that we are being sanctified? How do these permits give us power in our day to day lives and what freedoms do we obtain as an outcome of these results?
First, let us talk about how we received these permits. Just like a Costco membership, if you don’t have one, you wouldn’t be able to enter the store and purchase oversized quantities of goods. You are required to purchase a membership and receive a card that permits you to enter and then purchase a 20 pound bag of something you only use a pinch at a time. But, unlike Costco, where you pay a membership fee every year, the “membership” that you need to receive these permits from God is already paid for in full. And just like Costco, even when the membership is paid for, if you don’t receive or accept the card, then you can’t use the services. Once you realize and accept that Jesus paid the price for your salvation, and you take Him as your Lord, then you have permanent access to these permits offered by God.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. – 1 Peter 2:9-12
Next, it is time to understand what your permissions are and how you can apply them to your life. One of the biggest permits that God gives us is His grace. God could have easily made us to follow Him and nothing else. No choice! But in order for His love to be reciprocated, there has to be a choice; a choice to follow or not to follow Him. We are naturally sinners, focusing on ourselves, but because of God’s grace, we now have the ability to not sin. Many people take this grace in a backwards manner, using it as a means to sin more instead of using it to choose righteousness. This is a gross misuse of a precious gift.
Paul David Tripp sums it up in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, “This jealous God is a giver of grace, the most powerful weapon in the war for the heart. God’s grace gives us power to say no to powerful desires. It enables us to turn from the creation toward the Creator. It makes us willing to forsake our kingdoms for his. God’s grace forgives, but it also constrains and draws and wins. It is jealous, God-focused grace, fitted for the moments we are tempted to follow our desires.”
While sitting in his 2nd grade class, Rob watched as two girls went up to the teacher and asked for a pass to go get a drink of water. Because he was sitting next to the door and was thirsty himself, he got up and walked out with the girls, unbeknownst to the teacher. He was using the permission of another to accomplish what he wanted. Jesus actually offers us permission to use His Resource, His Permit, when we don’t have any. We just need to ask and receive it. Upon returning to the class, the teacher finally realized what happened and used Rob and a paddle to demonstrate the importance of permission.
God freely gives us His grace. Through His grace, we have power and freedom to live purely for Him. Because of this permit, we can stumble and still get back up. Because of this permit, we have the freedom to make a choice. Because of this permit, we are able to know that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.
The good news is that grace is not the only permit we have been given by God. As we continue on in our whole journey, we will explore several other permits God provides for us. Many people don’t even realize that these permits exist, or look at it as if they have more limits than permissions. Some believe that these permits don’t apply to them, that because of their life they haven’t earned the right to or that they don’t deserve the permissions we receive by God. But just like God’s marvelous grace, all of His permits are freely offered. We just need to be willing to receive them.
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:21-25