Jesus didn’t come to give us nice rules for living. A lot of people go to church for rules-this style of living that gives boundaries which create a sense of freedomfor some while suffocating others. Unfortunately, that shouldn’t be Jesus’ legacy. His message was love-loving God, loving our neighbor, loving our enemy, loving each other as ourselves. And, oh, how much harder are those things than following a bunch of rules!
How do I love God with all my heart when I am caught up in making money to pay bills in this one? How do I love God with all my mind when it drifts here and there restlessly? How do I love God with all my strength when I am such a feeble creature? How can I love my neighbor if I don’t know her name because I never take the time to communicate more than a cursory nod of greeting? How can I love my neighbor when I am stuck on how they hate me? How can I love you if I barely can love myself?
Not using profanity, refraining from drugs and alcohol, going to church on Sundays, reading my Bible, these things I can do. Changing the outside is difficult, but possible. It’s the inside, my heart of hearts, that I can’t seem to change.
I pray that God creates in me a new heart, that he continues in the renewal of my mind and spirit that he started in me. I know that it is only through my surrender of myself, abandon of my cares and plans for God’s, that I have any chance.
Now, as far as the other rules, I do try to follow them, and you can take them or leave them. I will try to love you anyway, though my love is imperfect. But I will not turn you away. How can I? He didn’t turn me away. The more I love Him, the more I know it was only His grace that got me here, not my ability to follow any rules. It is my love for Him that compels me now to try to follow them, though. Almost sounds like the old joke, “Which came first-the chicken or the egg?” We must first be created before we can act.