“Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith.” Gal 3:12 TM
To fulfill God’s will for your life and become the person He wants you to be, you must deal with: the me you’re afraid God wants you to be. Most people equate spiritual maturity with trying hard to follow the rules of the Bible. But as long as you think God’s aim is to produce rule-followers, spiritual growth will feel like an obligation rather than a desire of your heart. Paul writes, “Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping.” Rigid adherence to rules and regulations produces a desire-smothering, emotion-controlling, self-righteous person. The Bible says, “The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life” (2Co 3:6 NCV). There’s a big difference between following rules and following Jesus, because you can’t follow Jesus without cultivating the right heart. Jesus didn’t say, “I have come that you might follow the rules.” He said, “I have come that [you] may have life, and…have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10 NKJV). Until you understand that spiritual growth is moving toward God’s best version of yourself, the question, “How’s your spiritual life going?” will intimidate you. A nagging sense of guilt and deceit will prompt you to say, “Not too well. Not as good as it should.” People are apt to use external behaviors and devotional practices to gauge their spiritual health. For example, they measure by how early they get up to read and pray, how long their quiet times are, or how often they attend church. That’s not what spiritual formation is about. It’s about your relationship with Christ, not rule-keeping!
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