If you have been a Christian for very long, you have realized that the church and it’s people are often known for what they are against rather than what they are for. We are characterized and indicted as a group of people who are judgmental, pious and often uncaring. Another part that I have realized for a long time is that people often see following God as a life with a list of do’s and don’t.
Yet that is not what I have come to learn. Years ago I was given a book to read that answered some of these questions. The name of the book was “How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious”. To take in what I learned took me to some places that were new. But it also reminded me to put emphasis on my relationship with Jesus rather than my religious acts.
Being religious isn’t a bad thing, but being religious cannot take the place of being in a close relationship with God. Stop making your walk with God about what you do, and make your walk with God about what Jesus has already done. Stop being legalistic and start being full of grace.
Let me prove my point with some Scripture that sticks out to me:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
There are some do’s and don’ts that ought to teach us a lot about how we live toward the world. Don’t copy people. Do love people. Be genuine and not fake. Enjoy honoring others.
We don’t deserve the grace of God or the love of God, but God gave us His love and loves us more than we will ever understand. That is what we can and must give others. Not easy. But right.
I want to be challenged and challenge you to put aside your list of do’s and don’ts and let God fill your life with genuine love. I pray He fills us with authentic love for people. What I pray is that we will act more and more like Jesus would act. Oh, I quoted that verse yesterday, and for some reason it won’t get out of my head.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.