02 February 2012

It's Too Hard To Be A Christian

For awhile now I've had a hard time accepting what Jesus has been teaching me. I'm starting to finally discover the words to explain how I feel.

The Bible says this about the commandments:
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Mat 22:36-40)

He said all the commandments (things you gotta do) hang on this: Love God and love your neighbor. That's it. There's nothing else to do. Here's an example: Say I have a shirt hanging in my closet. If I remove the hanger from the shirt, what happens? The shirt falls on the floor. If love is not your hanger, then you fail at following any other command. No one can follow all the commands of the Bible flawlessly.

It also says this:
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Gal 5:14)

The Law + All other commands = Love

The Law of Moses has about 613 commands you must follow perfectly. This doesn't include all the other rules and regulations the Bible mentions.

However, the whole law can be summed up in loving your neighbor. If you're trying hard to obey any other command in the Bible, you're doing it wrong. God says love is all that matters.

But, there's a catch. When you begin to realize how much God loves you, then his love starts taking over. All of the sudden, the love that you just accepted (received) from your Father is seeping out of your pores at extreme rates. You begin to love others and you have no control over it. The love you're now sharing with everyone around you, is not your love. It's His love. You allow the Spirit inside of you to do the work, yet you reap all the benefits.

God's that good to us. He knows we can't do anything right so he does all the work for us. Once you accept what Jesus did for you and believe who you are in him, his love starts to permeate your life. His love starts changing the way you think and act. This change is a byproduct of his love. You didn't change. He changed you.

Wait!! But, you're saying I didn't do anything for it. How can I just receive God's love and that be it? I can't do what you're saying, Dathan. This doesn't make any sense. I need to feel like I'm working at something. I'm not lazy. I work hard for my pay check. My boss won't pay me if I just accept the job. I have to actually produce results before I earn my reward.

Here's the clincher. You're no longer trying to do anything when you receive his free gift of love (His Son John 3:16). You're no longer trying to follow a bunch of do's and don'ts. You're only job is to allow him to love you. Then, when his love blows your mind away, you start sharing that same love with everyone around you. So, what did you do for it? Nothing. Christ did everything. He did it thousands of years ago. If anyone says that you have to do more; if anyone tells you anything other than what I just explained, there's a name for them. These people didn't believe it was that easy. These people couldn't accept love or the good news. These people couldn't even see the love of God staring them in the face. They're called Pharisees. They crucified love. They rejected this good news with such a passion and hate. Why? Because it went against everything they were taught and worked so hard for. The system they worked so hard to build was threatened. They enslaved each other and they wanted to enslave you into following a bunch of rules. And, you're surrounded by them in church. They're everywhere. I used to be one of them.

A "break room" full of the law.
I used to think I had to work extra hard for God to love and accept me. I was taught I had to be perfect. I had to strive for perfection. I couldn't smoke, drink, do drugs, watch rated R movies, have a tattoo, cuss, lie, have sex, or look at people wrong. I was taught I had to dress nicely (this has been replaced with dressing cool), read my Bible everyday, memorize scripture, pray, have 1 hour of quiet time, fast, raise my hands in worship, sing hymns, work the parking lot, sing in the choir, and have an accountability group. I was taught that people who didn't come to church on Sunday night or Wednesday night weren't really committed. Don't forget Sunday school! I also had to pay tithes and offerings or God would curse me; like that makes any sense. Lastly, I can't forget the fact that my my church actually believed it was more right than anyone else. We were closest to perfect. Really?!

Who in their right mind would want any of this?? No wonder people hate Christians. If this is Christianity, I want nothing to do with it. None of the effort you're putting towards being perfect is working.

Doesn't all this just sound like another set of 613 commands?? It's just a whole new set of law. We replaced the Law of Moses with the Law of Religion. Religion kills. You're set up for failure and destined to lose because no man can satisfy the law perfectly. This is not who my Father is. This is not Love.

If you have to work for a gift, it's not a gift anymore.

Trust me, you didn't do anything to deserve his gift. You can't work hard enough. Jesus did it all! Jesus bought you freedom from rules and regulations, not slavery to them. Now, you're only obligation is to accept his love (1 Cor 13:2-3). Once you do, everything else in your life starts falling in line. When you're connected to a vine of love, you produce love grapes. It's not work. It's instinct. Your new nature only produces love.

It's too easy, isn't it? It's too good. This is what Jesus did and it's too Good to be true News. Now, do you actually believe it?

PS - You either choose to obey the "law" (which is hard and you'll surely fail). Or, you choose the easy route and receive God's love that washes away all sins (which is only based on his performance, not yours).


Catalina said...

Great post. The ultimate good news - free gift, no strings attached. What could be more awesome?

Anonymous said...

Love it!

Heather said...

Great post Dathan!

Dathan Ellis said...

I completely agree! I'm glad I finally woke up.

Dathan Ellis said...

Thank you for your help! ~;-)