Rules or Follow
Rules. I tried my best to follow them, but I usually failed. “Don’t do that. Don’t say that.” You have to do this because that’s the way it’s supposed to be done. You have to be a good girl in order to get to heaven. I was never really bent toward being good. I failed to live up to the standards set by my parents and by God. I just couldn’t do it. But then I found out no one else could either. My parents made mistakes. My sisters made mistakes. My friends made mistakes. So if everyone makes mistakes, who can live up to the standards of all the rules? No one.
When I started reading the Bible, I noticed Jesus didn’t say anything about following the rules. He said to follow Him. He asked the disciples one by one to follow Him. Yes, when we follow Him, we will actually follow the rules because He would never lead us into something that went against what God says. God placed rules or laws for us to follow so that we would know when we sinned – when we went against what God says. The law was not abolished when Jesus came; He came to fulfill them. He broke the rules by communing with sinners. He went against what the religious men said to do. Religion was made by man; but a relationship was made by Jesus. For many years, I didn’t understand that Jesus wanted a relationship. I thought it was always about the rules.
No, I couldn’t follow the rules. But I can follow one who breaks the rules in order to have a relationship. Jesus said to follow Him. I started that by reading what He said and read about His actions. The Holy Spirit seals us with the promise that we are His and teaches us how to follow Jesus. It’s by grace that we are given the presence of His Spirit. Yes, I believe I can follow this person who gives grace and mercy. I can have a relationship with the one who died for my sins. I can love the one who loved me first. I can be mindful of His laws because I have His presence within me. He teaches me as we walk the path – the Way. This is the way to eternal life with Jesus. One step at a time. Will I do it perfectly? No. But when I get off the path, I know His presence will gently remind me where I need to be. He will instruct me on how to return.
Is it really that easy? Yes and no. Yes, it’s just a simple command to follow Him. The hard part is laying down my own selfish desires – the “my way.” The hard part is to give up the things that keep me from hearing His voice – the things that distract me from His will; things that keep me from His best. It’s easy to follow when my heart is right and my focus is right. But the distractions, the other voices keep pulling me from the path. I am like Peter who starts out of the boat with the right focus, but somewhere along the way, I get distracted by the storms. Jesus never leaves us to drown though. He is always just one call away. Lord, save me! And He always does. No matter what. That’s because of the relationship with Jesus.
It’s not about religion. It’s about Jesus, my Shepherd. I am just a dumb sheep, who tends to wander. But I have a Good Shepherd that will not leave me in a place where the wolves are waiting. He searches for me because sometimes I don’t even know that I am off the path. Religion says that we search for God. But God says “I searched for you and found you and did not leave you where you were. I claimed you as my own.” That’s the God I follow. Jesus says to follow Him. Yes, I will follow Him to my eternal life with God through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This I confess and believe with all my heart. Jesus is Lord of all – King of kings; Lord of lords. For there is no other.
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:16-18