HEAL Group Session 05 – 2013


This week’s lesson was perfect for me personally this week. Instead of condemning myself for my mistakes (which I shared here at the blog yesterday), I have been able to press on and in closer to the Lord and receive his acceptance, love, forgiveness and encouragement. Thank you for your kind emails. I appreciate it very much!

You know, legalism lurks in the most innocuous of places in our lives. If we aren’t careful, we can be taken by surprise…and even taken hostage. This week in Lesson 5, we had a chance to evaluate this and expose the legalism wherever it was found. Grace is there–abundant and free–ready to wash over, in, and through us! Like a raft floating down a river, let’s rest and let the current of grace carry us along. This isn’t a “devil-may-care” attitude. We know that Titus 2 says “This same grace that brings salvation teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions…” But we also know that God has promised that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). We embrace the truth that God has demonstrated his love before we ever have done a single thing that could possibly have “earned” it. In fact, we could not earn it. Period.

In the video below, I share with you as if we were sitting in my living room (or a hotel room in Houston, Texas, as the case may be!).

There is an activity on the bottom of page 89 called “Walking on the Tightrope of Perfection.” I couldn’t actually do this with you for obvious reasons. 🙂 So I used video clips of young women I accessed on a service I subscribe to. When you get to the first one, I am sure you will see why I say doing this actually was so hard for me. In fact, it broke my heart. It was really hard for me to do this activity–even in this format! I can’t imagine how I would feel if we were together trying to do the activity as it is written. I hope that it somehow ministers to you–even with it’s “shock value.” :-/

What creating (and editing) this video did, though, was to help me to ask God to make me sensitive to where legalism exists in my life at all and where it is expressed to others. If someone–like my daughter, son, my husband–was on the tightrope (that you will see in this video), would the way I live be more congruent with saying those things? I hope not! I fear that the answer is yes.

And then I also wonder if I do that to myself as well. If I am the girl on the tightrope, do I shout at myself some of the awful things that I say on the video to the girl trying desperately to perform, to walk on the tightrope while balancing something on her head, using one foot to move a hubcap on the line, holding the pole around her shoulders–all without “messing up?” As you watch the video, you may evaluate if you do it to yourself as well!

Anyhow, if you watch the video below, please know during the tightrope section that I was VERY uncomfortable with that. Don’t hold it against me. It is a dramatization only!

Enough with the disclaimers! LOL! Before you begin the video, please read Psalm 139 out loud. Ask God to continue to help you to know the truths of the Psalm  full well. 

Please share in the comments section below:

  1. From your study this week How does God want to lavish his grace upon you?
  2. How have you lived under legalism rather than grace?
  3.  What does the verse 1 Corinthians 6:12 mean to you?: Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 
  4.  What did you think of the tightrope illustration/activity in the video? What have you learned? How can you apply what you have learned to your own life? 
  5. Do the journaling questions on page 90 and share the answers to any of them that you feel comfortable doing so. For those of you without the book, here is the activity–you can join us!  Make a list of your favorite foods. Do you allow yourself to eat all of these foods? Without mentally counting up the calories? Why or why not?  Which foods do you ever restrict yourself from having?  Are any of these foods ever stumbling blocks for you?  What does God’s grace seem to indicate?
  6. Share your thoughts about the following verses:

2 Corinthians 12:9

Hebrews 4:16

2 Corinthians 9:8

Ephesians 2:4,5

Finally, how can we  be praying for you?

I hope that evaluating your life, thinking, speaking for ways in which legalism might be present has been helpful for you. More, I hope you will join me in recommitting to being people of grace. Jesus paid the price of all sin on the cross. All shame for sin was paid for too. One benefit of that payment on our behalf is that we might continue, forever, in the grace of God as an ongoing pardon, provision, power, and presence (of God) in our lives!

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20 Responses to HEAL Group Session 05 – 2013

  1. Heidi Bylsma June 7, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    I really really hated that part of the clip where I spoke lies of condemnation over that poor child on the tightrope. I hope the illustration wasn’t lost in just how awful that sounded!

    • CMK June 7, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Heidi – I think you are being too hard on yourself! The illustration was profound and I certainly didn’t see it as anything personal to the child. Thank you for all the work that you put into this blog – you are a wonderful work of our Lord.

      • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

        Thanks for the encouragement, CMK. And it is my pleasure. Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it!

  2. N June 7, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    I’m only half way through this group session/study. I found your representation of tightrope excercise very powerful. I may revisit that. I’ve had question and a thought on my mind…..Last night, I kept thinking what is the difference between caring for my body and not (over) indulging the flesh. I even looked up the definition of body/flesh…

    flesh (fl sh)
    a. The soft tissue of the body of a vertebrate, covering the bones and consisting mainly of skeletal muscle and fat.
    b. The surface or skin of the human body.
    2. The meat of animals as distinguished from the edible tissue of fish or fowl.
    3. Botany The pulpy, usually edible part of a fruit or vegetable.
    4. Excess fatty tissue; plumpness.
    a. The body as opposed to the mind or soul.
    b. The physical or carnal nature of humankind.
    c. Sensual appetites.
    6. Humankind in general; humanity.
    7. One’s family; kin.

    They are the same, so my guess is that is a heart issue. If your feeding the body good things at appropriate times – that nurture/care, and if you are stuffing the body and wrong times – then that’s flesh out of control.

    I also had an a-ha moment about something I’ve known before but, keep forgetting – if the draw is too strong and too impatient, it’s likely not the Lord, whether it’s a lust for food or something else, that draw isn’t really from God, and you need to abstain, and turn to God break that power before you can return to a healthy relationship with that food (or whatever).

    • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      Hi, N. Thanks for the kind feedback about the tightrope activity. I also love what you have said about the draw being too strong and too impatient perhaps indicating that it is not from the Lord. Thanks for that.

  3. CMK June 7, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    I was reading yesterday about strongholds and paused to reflect what strongholds I have been freed from. The list was so long (ex the dieting mentality, comparisons to others, self-condemnation, cereal compulsion, overexercise, etc)! That is His grace lavished on me. The love from my children and my husband – that is His grace. The joy that I have been experiencing in this new-found freedom – His grace. On and on.

    How does legalism hide in me? Well, it’s still lurking although I can identify it more quickly now and renew my mind. I felt the Lord telling me to stop my work-out DVDs (remember, I decided to stop the June workout challenge after Heidi’s blog on legalism?) and walk in the early morning instead. Well, I ignored the small still voice bc I was still believing that a certain type of exercise will get me the body I want. Also, the DVDs speak often of calories, fat, cellulite – I talk back and say that stuff doesn’t matter, but I guess I need a full break from it. Today in prayer, He made it clear that I need to stop them for now and enjoy the early morning quietly walking with Him. I resisted, but then heard that I need to Trust Him. So, that is just one way that I still experience legalism.
    Also, I do eat any food, but I still think I need to “limit” my sweets and control them. Also, I still think about foods in terms of categories and will sometimes think calories. The other night, I really wanted popcorn for dinner. I talked myself out of it – proceeded to eat a “healthy” dinner and then snacked. I think if I had just eaten what I wanted, I would have been satisfied.

    • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Wow, CMK, you have such great insights. I love hearing how God impresses you with certain convictions. I had to set aside my favorite DVD series at least for a season. I was putting too much time into exercise between that and the 8…yes, EIGHT…tennis teams I was on. It also was a problem to see and hear the philosophy of the world…I was letting it bathe my mind. I want to turn off the sound and play my own music for the workout DVDs. Better, I want to create my OWN workout DVDS! That would be such fun! I could make them for myself to follow along with. LOL! I imagine God has some wonderful things he wants to share with you as you walk with him in the morning. 🙂

  4. Jamie June 7, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Having trouble with opening the vidio. : )

    • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Were you ever able to get it to work, Jamie?

  5. CMK June 7, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    The video – the tightrope to me looked like fear, scary, unrelenting, she is unable to make a mistake without falling, uptight
    The dancer – freedom, beauty, joy, able to make a mistake and continue on, fluid
    I do rejoice in my weakness (although I have my moments of wanting it to all go away and “why me”) because then He is my strength. Without this struggle/weakness, I would not know Christ the way that I do now. That His power can work in and through me (and you) is amazing. Like Heidi spoke of – with the cross, Saul, Solomon – we don’t know what our victories will look like, but we can know that they will glorify God and will give us peace.
    I love how Heidi emphasized “all” “every” “abundant” in 2 Cor 9:8.
    Have a great day.

    • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      CMK…thanks for your feedback. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I get so much out of the comments that you share. Thanks a bunch.

  6. Lara June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I have always said our God is the ultimate recycler – he takes all our junk and makes something good from it! I really like the concept of the too strong pull towards something indicating we should pray, wait and see if its beneficial or the right time for something.discerning needs from wants with all things including food or other comforts.


    • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi, Lara. What a great thought! Both the recycler one and the strength of the pull indicating prayer is called for.

  7. N June 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Continued. Powerful verses. Thank you, Heidi! My earlier comment is unartfully stated, basically, I was struggling with the apparent contradiction between “pay attention to your body’s natural hunger cues” v. “fight your fleshly desires.”

  8. Jamie Moe June 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    I finally got the video to work! 😉
    Looks like she is walking that tight rope very carefully…one mistake and she’ll be out on the ground.

    If we walk under the LAW…THE TIGHT ROPE! So to say we will surely not measure up!
    Grace of God, the new and better Covenant is all about God’s performance and not mine. Jesus came to Save us and sett us Free from all our Chains, sin and death. If it was not for Him I would be eternally lost and band from the presence of God. All my self righteous acts will not due! Only the blood of Jesus will cover me from head to toe. All my sin debt has been paid in full. So I remind myself when I fall short ask his forgiveness and not tremble in fear of coming to my Abba Father God for help and His mercy…Jesus did it all for me and for you. : )
    I don’t have an evil food list…I do eat whatever I like. But there are times when the Holy Spirit will lead me to not eat a certain food. If I feel a check in my spirit I will pray and ask the Lord what is his will in this situation. I have also experienced this in a way that spared me from being contaminated! God kept me safe from drinking and eating something that could have been dangerous for my health. It is a good thing to get use to listening to these promptings from the Holy Spirit. It may spare us some misery and even death. 🙂 I hope I’m not rambling to much and make sense.
    God bless you all this weekend and may He give you His grace and strength. May He make His face to shine upon each one of you. He loves us all so very, very much…We are His beloved and chosen in His Son Christ Jesus. He is the lifter of our heads. He will strengthen us in our weaknesses. And show Himself strong in us. We are bright shining stars for our LORD Jesus. Go let your light so shine this weekend. Amen . 🙂

    Isaiah 53

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    53 Who has believed (trusted in, relied upon, and clung to) our message [of that which was revealed to us]? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been disclosed?(A)

    2 For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.

    3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.

    4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].(B)

    5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.(C)

    7 He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

    8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living [stricken to His death] for the transgression of my [Isaiah’s] people, to whom the stroke was due?

    9 And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.(D)

    10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

    11 He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord].

    12 Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious).(E)

    • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      So glad you got the video to work. Thanks, too, once again for taking us to the Word, the Word, the Word!

  9. Sheila June 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    I don’t allow myself to eat all of my favorite foods. I don’t count calories (too much work), but I am way to aware of what is high fat and high calorie; yet, I will binge-eat on “good food”. While watching all these videos, I ate a very large salad and half of a large bag of unsalted in-the-shell peanuts. That certainly wasn’t God’s best for me. I started at “0” and ended at about 8″. What I really wanted was a hot dog. I was focused on my food. Some foods, which I have for years called bad foods, I allow myself only two or three times each year, one example being milkshakes. Legalism for sure. I have considered fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes with gravy, and several other foods, to be stumbling blocks. Today I learned that perhaps it is not these foods which are the problem. So, I’m not beating myself up re overindulging and that in itself is a victory. I really do want to walk on the path of God’s provision rather than the path of my performance. I am learning to take it one day at a time.

  10. Victoria Bushaw-boichot June 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Yes, I have been eating everything that I loved. One Wednesday I had a stuffed waffle cone at Checker’s and later on early evening I had a hard serve waffle cone. the stuffed waffle cone was stuffed with strawberry cheesecake and the hard serve waffle cone was called bear claw flavor with chocolate ice cream, big chocolate pieces, caramel, and almonds. I could not believe that the next day I still released 2 pounds this happened early May.

  11. Becky McGeorge June 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    That was just great, Heidi! I think this was my favorite lesson. Thank God, there are no foods I restrict, but it took a lot of years of legalism then Bible study to get here. Please pray that I keep trusting God for the job he wants me to have, and that I neither eat my way through the job search, or take the first job offered just to get a paycheck! That’s what I did in February and was extremely miserable for the past 3 months. Thanks!

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