For most of my life I've been in church and to be honest I've always been pretty much a rule follower. I mean if I got "the look" from my mom (you know what look I'm talking about) in church, I straightened right up. I like people to be happy with me, so I don't really want to rock the boat.
So, with that said, it wasn't real hard for me to stay within the rules of the bible, you know the 10 commandments and love people, love God. I liked following rules & church felt like home to me, I truly had a great church family & foundation of love.
But, somewhere along the lines, I started to believe that obedience & my adherence to the law & instructions of the word was truly living, experiencing everlasting life & freedom. While obeying and doing what the bible says are all really great things that will save you from a lot of heart ache, regrets, guilt and baggage, they are not the purpose of the Christian life. If I'm stepping on your toes, hold on, see where I am going....because I'd like to mention, the Pharisees were REALLY great at adhering to the laws, I mean immaculate, and you know they weren't experiencing a life of love. So obeying doesn't always equal true freedom or making God happy.
Today I read Jesus's own words in John 17:3 "And this is the way to have eternal life to know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ the one you sent to earth." Eternal life here isn't just referring to going to heaven, it starts now! Strongs concordance describes it as "experiencing this quality of God's life now as apresent possession." The way to experience freedom & a powerful life of love, is to know God. He wants us to spend our time getting to know his heart, the more we are with Him, the more he transforms us, and the natural outcome is making choices the bring life to us, not death.
So, my focus has shifted, from, "Ok, I need to do this & that to be a good Christian" to : "I need to hang with Jesus, have Him change me and ask Him to reveal His heart to me & mold mine into His." Jesus's whole ministry on earth wasn't to enforce rules, condemn or judge, it was to unveil what God was really like. When my heart is conformed & softened into a heart like Jesus, I will start to naturally radiate the glory of God & make life giving choices. Knowing Him is the root, right actions is the fruit. (Not the other way around.)
Check out Hillsong's Scandalous Grace worship song, the chorus goes right along with what our hearts' cry should be, GIVE ALL I HAVE JUST TO KNOW YOU.