If you haven’t been around for the first two parts of this new series, you should check out the first post and the second one, too. Otherwise, buckle up and keep reading as we examine our next Christian Cliché!
“Christianity isn’t rules, it’s a relationship.”
The first question that enters my mind when I read this sentence is, “Can you have a relationship without rules?” Can you? Every relationship has guidelines and boundaries. We are expected to be faithful, loving, honoring, and all in all respecting of the other person. So is it really possible to have a relationship without rules?
Still, what do people mean when they say that Christianity isn’t rules, but a relationship? Surely there must be something to this saying that is truthful. And there is, to the point that it reminds us not to become overly focused on appearances, but rather on the heart. Christianity isn’t some checklist to follow in order to become artificially perfect. We don’t want to become Pharisees, here.
You see, Jesus didn’t think too highly of people like the Pharisees – and with good reason. These guys were so concerned with following the Bible’s laws, that they added their own laws in order to keep themselves from breaking the first ones. And it seems they began with good intentions, but soon they were so focused on their outward perfection that they lost hold of the importance of the inward response. In other words, they got so caught up in rules that they forgot about the relationship. Jesus said it this way:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” -Matthew 23:27
But it doesn’t end there. While the Pharisees became overly concerned with rules, we are just as guilty if we disregard rules and attempt to worship God in our own way. We are still called to obey God, to be faithful to Him, to honor Him… but all of this should be rooted in our heart’s response to His love.
If we love God, obeying Him won’t seem like such a chore. Instead, we will desire to serve Him in the way that He desires. God is more concerned with you loving Him than He is with you obeying Him, because He knows that obedience flows easily from a loving heart.
“Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:35-40
You Should Also Read:
A Call To Abandonment – Part 2
Stay tuned! Next, we’re diving into the saying “God hates religion.”
In the mean time, what are your thoughts on this saying?
Are there any sayings that you would like to be included in this series? Let me know!