If I'm a follower of Jesus, does that mean I have to read my Bible?
If I'm a follower of Jesus, does that mean I have to pray?
If I'm a follower of Jesus, does that mean I have to stop sleeping with my girlfriend?
If I'm a follower of Jesus, does that mean I can't go out and get wasted anymore?
If I'm a follower of Jesus, does that mean I can't look at porn?
If I'm a follower of Jesus does that mean I can't fib a little so I won't get in trouble?
If I'm a follower of Jesus, _______________(you fill in the blank)
I've been thinking a lot about the "rules" or do's & don'ts of being a follower of Jesus a lately. Is that what we have reduced our faith down to? A list of certain things you can or can not do in order to be a "Christian" and gain God's favor?
Even if there were a defined set of rules that made you a good believer or a bad one, knowing and keeping all of them wouldn't mean you were a good "Christian".
I know a lot about sports, maybe to much. I can tell you the general rules to almost every American sport there is. But knowing the rules doesn't mean I'm good at those sports. I'm not an athlete. I stink at sports. Knowing and playing by the rules does not make me any better of a player.
What if we approached our walk with Christ that way? What if we cared less about the rules and more about what it really means to be "in the game"? (In the game refers to your relationship with Jesus)
1 John 2:3 says, "You will know that you know Him if you obey His commands". Not "If you obey His commands then you will know Him."
Keeping Jesus' commands aren't the way to know him they're the RESULTS of knowing Him.
I don't cheat on my wife because I'm afraid I'll get in trouble. I choose not to cheat on her because I love her.
I should want to read my Bible, pray, go to church, surround myself with people who will challenge me to be a better follower, read more books that will help me on my walk, and so on not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to.
I shouldn't avoid the things in life I know are dishonoring to God because I'm afraid of the punishments. I should avoid them because I love Him to much to hurt Him by doing those things.
The problem is I often find myself following my rules. I turn my faith into a checklist of things I can and can't do. And at the end of the day, if I have done more can's then cannots, then I must be a good Christian. But it doesn't work that way. The whole time I'm busy making sure I'm following the rules, God is whispering in my ear that my rules mean nothing, if I'm not doing it all because I love Him.