Living the Christian life is not about formula. It is not about rules or procedures, it is not about right or wrong even. Christianity is about a living relationship with God, with Jesus Christ, and with our Holy Spirit.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4
“But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:18
Living the Christian life is about entering into a relationship with God, growing in that relationship, and finding out what our new friend (God) likes or doesn’t like.
Moving with God we come to find out what offends and what gladdens the heart of God. For instance we read in Proverbs a few of what offends God and then how he prefers to act.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run haste to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in his steadfast love.” Micah 7:18
We in turn, begin to naturally live out our lives in accordance with God’s standards, because we want to please God, because we have got it that God LOVES us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God’s love comes first.
Our desire for God comes next.
Holiness alongside God is next.
Then working for God naturally flows.
To often in our churches and our Christian communities we stress #3 and head right into #4, before we understand or experience #1 or #2.
When we preach Holiness before someone even knows who God is, or of God’s great love, we put the cart before the horse, and the plow before the oxen. We end up hurting others and doing the exact opposite of what God does. For as we read in Micah, God pardons iniquity and covers over transgressions.
The Bible is very clear. Love comes first, and out of love all things flow, and love then wraps it all up.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Holiness that comes out of a pure desire and love for God, is a different product than an attempt at holiness that comes out of a view of God as a harsh and strict taskmaster.
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
Holiness that comes from our relationship with God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, made possible in the blood of Jesus Christ, is something very different to behold.
This kind of holiness shines and is settled and pure. This kind of holiness is kept by God himself, and is the source of great joy and acts as a profound offering of our lives back to God.
“For it is God who works in you… that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:13 &15
It is only in love that we are saved, and only in the knowledge of God’s love are we inspired and enabled to live lives unto God.
God initiates love to us
God convicts of what diminishes our lives
God rescues us from ourselves
God keeps us and protects us
God gives us work in the Kingdom of God
This is a living breathing relationship. God initiates, we respond.
How are you responding today?
And how is God initiating in your life today?
Take time to thank God for that today.