Less Rules, More Jesus.
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. (Acts 15:19 NIV)
The questions I immediately asked myself were, do I make it difficult or easy for people to turn to God? Am I complicating it for myself and others or am I keeping it true, pure and simple?
I believe that our goal shouldn’t be to try to figure out all the rules and hoops that people have to jump through before we “allow” them to be a follower of Jesus. We should be asking the opposite, how do we simplify and how do we throw the doors as wide open as possible and take the heavy burden of rules off people.
Pastor Judah Smith, in his book Jesus is__, talked brilliantly about our human obsession with rules and our need for Grace in the person of Jesus. He says, “Rules are meant to lead us to relationship, not to replace relationship.”
“Here’s the bottom line: everything that rules can do, grace can do better, and more besides” – Pastor Judah Smith
Okay, so what did the apostles decide to require of these new believers? I think you may find it both challenging and freeing. Most likely the “big” things you thought might make it on this list didn’t. Here is what they said:
Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. (Acts 15:20 NIV)
Wow! This is a short list of things and basically can be summed up in the simplicity of Loving God and loving people. They call the new believers to not get polluted by things that draw their hearts away from His. To keep God as first priority. They also call new Christians to Honor God with their bodies and abstain from sexual immorality. (Which is any sex outside of the marriage of a man and women)
Today I was reminded that we make too many rules and rules have no power to save!
We make too many rules! We require things that even God isn’t. Rules reveal our need for a savior but they can never be our savior. What if we pursued less rules and more of Jesus? How would that change us? How would that free up those around us? What if we focused on seeking and developing a relationship with Jesus rather than a man-made rule book? It would change everything.
Less rules, more Jesus.