I was talking yesterday with a good buddy over a chicken wing lunch about something I've been learning lately. And it's helping me in my life. This is it:
The Christian life is about so much more than avoiding sin. Far more! It's actually about loving God and enjoying His presence.
See, I think it's possible to become so obsessed with moral uprightness that we fall into this works based religion that is all about performing for God and trying to earn His approval, which really is not possible. When we travel this road, we run the risk of becoming moral hypochondriacs who always fear we are doing something wrong. I just don't think that's a healthy way to live, and I really don't think that's how God intended for us to spend our years on this Earth.
Please, I beg of you, don't misunderstand me here: YES, we are to be holy, pure, and righteous in word, thought, and deed. NO, we are not to live evil, rebellious, immoral lives. Our heart should be set, however, first and foremost on this: Loving God and enjoying His presence.
I'm noticing that when I focus primarily on my relationship with God, obeying Him tends to become something I more naturally want to do. If I'm close to Him, I don't want to offend Him. See what I'm saying? I'm operating more out of a love for God than simply some sort of duty or fear.
In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus said, "You shall love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment." More than anything else, He wanted us to focus on loving the awesome God who already loves us. That was (and still is) priority number one.
Perhaps some of us need to set our hearts more on bonding WITH God instead of performing FOR God.
Maybe we need to focus more on a grace-filled relationship than a performance-centered religion.
That's what God is teaching me these days. And it's making sense to me in a new and fresh way. I think it's what life is really about.