I grew up in an environment of rule-based religion. To me, it felt like following Jesus meant having to wear a straitjacket 24/7. I suspect that, still today, a lot of people see it that way. But what if that’s not what God had in mind, after all?
One of the things I like most about Jesus is that He wasn’t much into following rules. Sure, He talked a lot about our love response to God and how that should change the way we live, but it wasn’t this sense of a bunch of rigid rules to follow.
I think we human beings can have a tendency of taking the good things of God and turning them into rules. Religion and rules seem to go hand-in-hand. But I’m not sure that that’s what God has in mind.
Some people challenged Jesus one day about fasting.
Mark 2:18 The followers of John and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came to Jesus and said, “John’s followers fast, and the followers of the Pharisees fast. But your followers don’t fast. Why?”
In other words, they were asking, “Why don’t your guys play the game and follow the religious rules like everyone else?” That’s not an unreasonable question.
Mark 2:19 Jesus answered, “At a wedding the friends of the bridegroom are not sad while he is with them. They cannot fast while the bridegroom is still there. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them. Then they will fast.”
Do you know what that tells me about God? He’d rather have us enjoying a relationship with Him than chasing after a bunch of rules. And the funny thing is, the more we enjoy Him, the more we want to live our lives for Him. I wonder sometimes whether religious rules don’t completely miss the point of this thing that God calls – grace.
That’s His Word. Fresh … for you … today.