Christianity is still viewed by a significantly large amount of people as a hard religion, even in view of verses where Christ says that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
Christianity is perceived as no different from other religions which state that God's behavior towards you is dependent on your performance and obedience. However, it is also Paul himself who talks against the rules, in the sense that he says they have no power in restraining sin.
The thing is, if it's always going to be about the rules, then we are surely going to break them. The Law kills, but the Spirit gives life. We see in the Old Testament how the Israelites were already busy smelting an idol just after the Ten Commandments were given.
We can take all these rules - we could fall into the trap of taking these rules, sprinkle a little Jesus here and there, but if that's where we're off to, then we're off to die. Again, it is the Law that kills, but the Spirit gives life! The law certainly does not encourage us to live - The Spirit tells us it's not about the rules, it's not about 'have-tos' but Christ giving us a new life with a totally new list of 'want-tos'!
Unfortunately there still exists the mixture of the true message of Christ, where we are saved by grace... but we need to meet all of His expectations. The Truth states that we are loved as much now as we were when Christ was thinking of all of us, loving us dearly at the cross, and, honestly, we would need a lifetime to really ponder on that.
If we are so fixated and focused on what we aren't allowed to do, and all the 'nots' and 'have-tos', guess what? We are going to break them! Again, the message is that we have a Father that loves us dearly - He cries when we cry, and He laughs when we laugh! We need to focus on that more than anything else.
We have been forgiven of all of our sins, because of the finished work of Christ - and God does not keep score in that regard. The thing is, God loves you so much that He is showing you His best each and every day, and He is so determined to be so involved in your life made new!
Let's not make the mistake of making the creation the Creator - God wants to 'save us the trip' - He's a Father, and not a Judge, who cares so deeply about you, more than anyone or anything He has ever created! The Creator is your Father, and as their love and smiles are always for you, so their discipline (discipling) and their counsel is always for you!
Discipline is training for the future, and not punishment for the past!
There still exists the temptation to be religious and to look at things in black and white. If we are looking at the world through the specs of right and wrong, or the knowledge of good and evil, then we are just setting ourselves up for failure and frustration.
All things are permissible, but not all things are profitable. We ought to be reminded of this, reinforcing that we have God and He will truly never leave us nor forsake us. We have be reminded that God has given us freedom, and that this same God is bigger than anything we think can ruin us.
Indeed, addiction is not profitable. Be wise about things that were not profitable. You will know what is not profitable. Having a list of things to do and not do is actually counterproductive. We've moved above and beyond the 613 laws NOT to make another list of laws and call it Christianity!
Jesus, I wanna have an awesome time with you each and every day!
We haven't fed on the Tree of Life, who is Christ, just to gorge on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and Good and Evil! We have something so much more, and these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit produced through us because of Christ in us! We are right because of Jesus Christ, and not because of what we do and not do!
Because we have Christ in us, we can ask Him what can be joy-filled, what can be fun and profitable.
On Marriage – it’s a choice. Not everyone has the gift of getting married. Not everyone has the gift of being single. Let’s enjoy Christ and be free of any notions that make us think otherwise. We are not obligated to have children – Children are blessings, but our identity remains to be in Christ, and that’s what the focus always ought to be on.
Don’t call your role your identity. Your role changes, but your identity in Christ will never change.
On being Republican – Our hope in not in a Party, our hope is not in the government, but our hope is in Jesus Christ, and Christ alone! Don’t call your political affiliation your identity, because, again, your identity is in Christ!
We simply cannot make our choices and views in government mix with our beliefs and where we stand, because Jesus is Jesus, and He is a greater foundation than anything we can ever build ourselves. In other words, when thinking of the mountains of influence, they are mountains, indeed, but it is Jesus Christ alive in us that causes us not just to ‘invade’ these mountains, but to speak with authority to them, to the point that they would be moved into the sea.
We are not arrogant in Christ. In fact, His love humbles us as much as it secures us. We speak with authority, but not with arrogance. We speak with humility, and not out of hubris.
Going back to result-oriented thinking frustrates us to the point that we call on Christ for help, but being Christ-oriented produces the results which have the most effective (eternal) implications. We speak from Christ, to Christ.
On avoiding other cultures, beliefs, and worldly systems – We need to be careful about this ‘warning’. In contrast, we are strengthened and edified when we shine Christ in diverse cultures and belief systems. The world may be thinking of climbing up to God, when grace says God climbed down the ladder to be with us, dying for us to be with Him.
If we couldn’t understand people and their cultures, we will not be able to establish any relationships, and people will not see Christ, only religion in us! You are rock-solid with Christ, and nothing can snatch you away from His hands.. so be free to learn and see Christ in all things!
On ‘I Never Knew You..’ – Remember the verse before this – Jesus was talking to people who were bragging about their works and what they did – though they were doing it in His name, they were doing it thinking that would give them blessings, favor, and/or salvation. If it’s going to be about us, then we ought to stop right there!
On ‘Be perfect’ – Christ said none of the Law is going away until all is fulfilled, and proceeded to give a picture of perfect following of the law – cut off your hand if it sins, thinking murder is murder, etc. He attacks our temptation to go back to ethics with presenting the perfect, unattainable law. We cannot reach His thrice holy standards, but because of Christ’s offering, we have been made perfect!
The Law drives us to grace. Moses leads us to Jesus. When we realize that we cannot try to reach it, we ought to trust Christ, who has already reached it.
Will The Real Christianity Please Step Forward?
“Do you see that it is a life of Grace, and it is about a God of grace? That it is a Father with a deep concern, and a deep love for you? It’s not about rules, it’s about relationship. It’s not about principles, it’s about a Person – Do you realize that it’s not even about right and wrong, and good and evil, it’s about knowing Jesus, and expressing Jesus? Christ in you, Christ through you? That’s what it’s all about.”
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May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26