There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
1 JOHN 4:18
“Rules are there to be broken.”
It’s a saying that resonates with most of us from the time we were young, until now – grown and living our adult life, some, mature, while others, “mature”.
We don’t like rules and when we break them without anyone finding out, we feel thrilled.
I guess that thrill drives us more than the soberness of mind if we only sat down and had a little introspection.
An introspection to inquire more about our inner being than the influence and drive that comes from without. “Are these rules for my good?”
Let’s bring this into our daily walk with Christ. I don’t like rules too. In all truthfulness, I don’t like being told what not to do. I wish I could live a free bird. Not caged by rules and certainly not adhering to any set of obligations.
We all hate rules and it’s so perfectly human. Our infallibility drives us to look out for ourselves!Our indignation over other's shortcomings prove a much stronger pull than seeing our shortcomings. Click To Tweet
It happens in our daily walk with the Lord. We don’t like to be told, do not sin! We would rather be praised.
Our indignation over other’s shortcomings prove a much stronger pull than seeing our shortcomings. We are so fallen and rules make an already worse situation unbearable.
But can we live without being told what to do or not to do?
Is it healthy for the human race to be left as it is? How is character shaped really? Is it by being told what not to do always or it’s an intrinsic drive that causes you to have boundaries based on previous acquired knowledge?
Then there is the biggest question of all, is our walk of FAITH based only on FOLLOWING RULES, or is there something that transcends that?
There is a reason why man has a strong inclination to moral evil even when forbidden. Obedience is in itself submitting your own will for another. It’s being subject to a law or being and you are obligated to follow.
Our natural corruption is always against submission and obligation. It’s in our very nature. With that in mind, is our walk of Faith then limited to obligation and subjection only?Obedience is in itself submitting your own will for another. It's being subject to a law or being and you are obligated to follow. Click To Tweet
Just like in marriage –
if all was about obligation, that a wife’s submission to her husband is all because she’s told to and a husband’s love to a wife is obligatory, then the marriage will by all means, become burdensome.
There has to be more than just, “I HAVE TO FOLLOW BECAUSE I WAS TOLD!” or “I HAVE TO LOVE YOU BECAUSE I HAVE TO! ” If I am in marriage, living in fear, then really, that’s not love.
If I lived in fear thinking, if I don’t cook as my husband wants, then he might cheat on me, then I am in bondage! That’s not a marriage it’s a bondage! I will do things for him out of fear and obligation than doing them out of love.
It is exhausting to do things out of obligation.
It’s draining and certainly not gratifying.
Romans 7:8—”But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness”—happens. The law, just as the Bible says, causes us to sin more! Oh yes it does!
Yes, laws bring a restraint of some kind – but it is not effective at all in dealing with sin. Sin thrives in law and certainly grace abounds!
Religion and adherence to a perfectly set of laws put up at the entrance of the Church does not sort out our hearts. Being charismatic Christians who follow every command to the latter, without having an intimate walk with Christ, is highly effective in breeding Pharisaical Christians.
Christians who physically see but are spiritually blind.
Christians who are physically fit, but need to be propped up spiritually.
Christians who physically grow but are spiritually stunted.
Christians who are too vocal in church but bear no fruit.
Youth leaders who follow up the youths missing in church cannot do much by trying to drill in a set of “DO NOTS!”
Religion does not sort out heart issues.Being charismatic Christians who follow every command to the latter, without having an intimate walk with Christ, is highly effective in breeding Pharisaical Christians. Click To Tweet
Again, we are not saying that the gospel should not be preached, that our sinfulness should not be addressed, but if your teachings do not show marks of BROKENNESS AND GRACE, then you are simply efficient in the work but not effective.
You are too vocal without making an impact.
Religion overshadows Grace and that’s not what CHRIST CAME TO SHOW THIS WORLD!
Religion causes us to have a rigid conformity to a set of rules and totally blots out the grace of God.
Without Grace, we cannot commit to something! Without love, we are simply walking like the Pharisees who were so quick to point out every evil around, yet were as dry as a desert.
They bore no fruits.
They bore no grace.
They displayed a sense of strength that was more repulsive than attractive.
So what do we do since the law has to be there?
We must first and foremost get rid of these heretical idea that Christian living in marriage or in any sphere of life reduces us to obeying a set of rules.
If we understand that, then we can begin.
The Lord put in standards for us, and they are for own good. They are not burdensome.
Just like in marriage, boundaries and standards are there for your own good. You can keep reviewing them as you like, but they are there.
The Bible says in Romans 6:14
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Those Christian standards have to be kept and keeping them requires effort.
It’s deliberate and intentional, but what makes it all easy is our relationship with the one who has laid out those standards. An intimate relationship eases the load of trying to live up to certain standards.An intimate relationship eases the load of trying to live up to certain standards. Click To Tweet
My relationship with my husband definitely has no go zones. We have things and boundaries in our marriage.
For instance, one “rule” we have is that our finances are budgeted together. It doesn’t matter what others say, but this our WE bubble. Our phones are not private, and many others things. Now, all these become easy to follow through because we are not JUST MARRIED, but INTIMATE WITH EACH OTHER IN ALL AREAS.
Our relationship and friendship supersedes the rules, implied or clearly written out.
That is the same in our walk of Faith. Our love for Christ makes the burden of his authority light, easy to embrace and welcome.
Matthew 11:30 says,
For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.
1st John 5:2-4 says
By this we know [without any doubt] that we love the children of God: [expressing that love] when we love God and obey His commandments.
For the [true] love of God is this: that we habitually keep His commandments and remain focused on His precepts. And His commandments and His precepts are not difficult [to obey].
God’s standards are very unyielding and tough. But, their firmness only feels truly harsh when we fail to appreciate the privilege of relationship with him and what it costed Him.
If we focus more on RULES AND NOT ON A RELATIONSHIP with CHRIST, that in itself breeds RELIGION!
Religion is what causes most of us to be more welcoming to strangers than our spouses.
Religion is what causes us to forgive others easily and not our spouses.
Religion is what makes us put on PERFECT JESUS MASKS, yet we are beasts at our homes!
We end up spending so much time, breathing fire and harsh ordinances to them that do not seem to conform to standards – more of them set by man!If we focus more on RULES AND NOT ON A RELATIONSHIP with CHRIST, that in itself breeds RELIGION! Click To Tweet
There will always be rule of the land as the Bible says. Our lives have been called to submit to each other and to authorities placed by God, but what God really wants from us is a RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
A RELATIONSHIP will cause you to love without being pushed to do it.
A RELATIONSHIP will cause you to serve without being demanded to do so.
A RELATIONSHIP will cause you to do what would be pleasing to Christ and even to your spouse.
Standards cannot be completely obliterated nor relaxed to suit our selfish desires. No. God will not do that.
His word is final.
2nd Timothy 3:16-17 says
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
His word is there for instruction, rebuke, correction and training.
Those hard stances God takes against our sins are good for us.
Although they are there, and we are required to obey them an EMPHASIS on all that Christians must do, or not do can easily obscure the point of obedience.
It’s emphasis broods over religious eggs which soon hatch and gives forth to blind little Christian hatchlings who grow up needing to be propped up every day and cannot rely on God’s discernment!
Obedience is not aimed at rigidly conforming, but it’s to build an enjoyed relationship with God.
If a relationship is emphasized more, then LOVE IS BORN.
A love that causes you to follow Christ unreservedly.
A love that grows from within and permeates outside.
A love that causes you to preach Christ without even talking!
And with each other, that love demonstrates the reality of Jesus Christ to world full of handedness.Obedience is not aimed at rigidly conforming, but it's to build an enjoyed relationship with God. Click To Tweet
If our marks of brokenness are full of grace, then we will be effective in preaching Christ in our everyday walk.
Our strength will attract rather than repulse. Our relationship with Christ will be rooted in love rather than the fear of going to hell.
We will think of God as a friend, rather than an Old grandpa waiting to punish the sinful world. Grace will not be obscured by religion.
Relationships will precede performances in Churches.
We will point people to Christs love more by our lifestyle.
Worship will not be about voices nor those who can hit the lowest or the highest notes, but, about living an exchanged life with Christ – giving up our will for His.
We would be rooted more in the love of Christ and not rely on our own understanding.
Religion is really not for me, Christ’s love is!