#9 Following All the Rules Can Ruin Your Faith
Seems strange to say but it is true. Following all the rules can, and I believe will, greatly diminish or even RUIN your Faith. Here is what I mean…
The Pharisees found this out as the relatively few old testament guidelines ballooned into hundreds of well-intentioned, albeit, suffocating rules. These rules essentially boiled God down to a list of “do’s and don’ts”. The same can be true of well-meaning Christians who have developed rules for almost every area of their lives. From where they can and cannot go, whom they can be seen with, how they must worship, music they must listen to etc…..
Jesus Gave us two primary rules to follow……. Love the Lord Your God with all of your heart and love your neighbor as yourself…… the rest is just window dressing.
Matthew 22:37-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I am convinced that far too many of us rely on our rules (or systems) for guidance without a thought for the leadership of the Holy Spirit. In doing so we diminish our need to “walk” with Jesus at all!
About two years ago a man sat in my office, embarrassed and uncomfortable. He was the epitome of rule following Christianity. He dressed well for church, looked you in the eye when he spoke, his kids were orderly if not a little stiff, his wife was pleasant and quiet, he gave both his time and income to the church, he was a leader in the community and had the civic awards to prove it, he understood much of what he was taught about scripture and how God works in our lives. After all, he had endured a thousand conservative biblical sermons……………………… and yet he was also drowning in despair.
During our long meeting together he confessed to deep disappointment in God. God, it seems, had not delivered on His promise to bless my new friend. He did everything he was supposed to do, he followed every rule he knew and yet……. he confessed….. he and his wife were not getting along, his kids were distant and rebellious, his faith was dry and stale and he had even thought about just “walking away”.
He had altered what was supposed to be a dynamic, exciting life of faith into a simple checklist of behaviors……very dangerous indeed.
Today my friend has found great freedom in two simple rules:
#1 LOVE JESUS
#2 LOVE OTHERS
- Too many rules “Insulate us” from a dynamic walk with the Lord.
- Too many rules prevent God from working in our lives.
- Too many rules “dumb down” our faith.
- Too many rules create a checklist to present to God for approval instead of a life willingly offered to bring Glory to the Most High God.
from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007