When I began my journey with the Lord over thirty years ago I was truly lost. My prayer was simple: “I have been doing things my way and it is not working. So, Lord, I will do it Your way. But I do not know what that is or how to do it. Teach me, show me the way.” I prayed, read the bible and Christian books, went to church and bible study.
Sometimes it all was a bit confusing. Though there is no error in scripture, there is often error in what is taught about it. God is ever faithful and by His grace I was given the gift of discernment. I learned to respond to the music of His truth and turn away from the clang of false teachings.
I learned about the greatest commandment; Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And to love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37,39. It was like rain in the desert to my soul. Still, I wondered, how does one do this, follow these commands?
I asked many people, and received as many answers as people I asked. I was told to give money and to serve, pray and have quiet time with the Lord, go to church and bible study, and spend most of my time with other believers. Within these answers there were formulas. How much money and time to give to the church, visit and take meals to the sick and grieving. Pray and have a daily morning quiet time of one hour. Be at church every time the doors opened. And study the bible in a group, with one other person, or alone. Socialize only with believers. And my favorite, just do what you think you should do.
All fine suggestions and worthy of commitment. (Except maybe “the do what you think you should do,” that sometimes leads to trouble.) But none of what I heard really answered my question. Anyone can do all these things and not be pleasing to the Lord. After all, the Israelites did all these things and offered burnt sacrifices to Him and He was often angry with them. Why is the work, the doing of these things not completely pleasing to Him? Could it be because we are working and doing without godly thought? Are we busy working and doing just to do it and get it checked off our to-do list?
God asks more of us than robot like obedience.
We are to be active with fairness and determination and discretion. Our faith is of little value if lived without intelligent thought and understanding. There is to be kindness in our hearts, mercy, a covenant love; a love that is committed, within the boundaries of God’s word and will. He wants us to surrender ourselves to Him and be utterly dependent on Him. He wants us to follow Him, to grow and mature, to be in fellowship with Him.
He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 nasb
He tells us what to do; to act and to love. He tells us how; by giving ourselves to Him without reservation. And He tells us why; because He is our God.
Man’s formula is rather cumbersome, God’s is short and sweet.
I wonder why we make so many rules and regulations?
I wonder if we think the more complicated something is the more important it is, and then we are more important?