Comments encouraging people to do the right “Christian” thing make me twist inside. My heels start digging in as I feel the push of the law. So I mentally stepped back and examined what he said.
Do I agree that the greatest thing we can do is surrender our lives to Jesus Christ?
No, I don’t.
I believe the greatest thing we can do is step into relationship with Jesus. Does that require surrender? Yes. But is surrender the ultimate goal? I don’t think so.
If you are a parent, is your greatest desire for your children to obey your mandates?
Not for me. My heart’s desire is that my kids and I have a deeply connected and honest relationship with each other.
Does obedience come out of that? It does, though not perfectly, and it’s not the highest goal. And it’s often in working through our mess-ups (theirs and mine) that our connection goes to a deeper, more intimate and trusting level.
So if our goal is surrendering our lives to Christ, where does that leave relationship with Him?
My goal is to know the person of Jesus at the deepest, most intimate level possible. As that happens I eagerly surrender my life and my will and my time to Him. Surrender becomes a by-product, not the goal.
I don’t want to live by mandates that focus on doing the “right” thing. When being model Christians (i.e. trying to eradicate sin from our lives and working to obey every New Testament biblical command) where does that leave Jesus?
I wonder if it leaves us working to become like Him, but never truly knowing Him.
A focus on living by good rules leads us back under the law and the person of Jesus gets pushed farther away as we work so hard to please Him.
When our focus is Jesus, obedience naturally develops. It’s a by-product of connection with Him.
I spent a lot of years trying to please God, trying to perfect my behavior. Trying to be the perfect Christian that He would smile upon. I lived under a tremendous amount of shame and continuous self-judgment, focusing primarily on what I lacked in godly behavior and giftedness.
My joy was more often circumstantial than internal.
And then I began to discover what the cross truly means for each one of us:
I wonder what would happen if many of us set aside our goal of obedience to Jesus, and made intimacy with Him the focus. What do you think would happen with our obedience?
I think we’d find ourselves living the greatest commandment: Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Loving ourselves. And loving others Matt. 22:36-40).
Behavior takes care of itself when we are filled with Love.
Papa God, I want to know Your goodness at the deepest level possible. I want to sense Your smile when You look at me. Teach me about Your love and mercy, Your abundance and Your desire to pour out Your goodness upon me. You are good! I want Your goodness to flow through me to bless those around me. I want to live from a place of abundance, centered in Your kingdom. Thank you! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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