Living By the Rules or Letting God’s Grace Rule
My brother recently said, “I don’t read my Bible to make God like me more. I read my Bible to find out how much God likes me.” I thought, “Wow! That is such a wonderful way of looking at any ‘Christian Discipline’ like prayer, giving or going to church.
In one of my favorite books, Grace Rules by Steve McVey. He says:
Are you living by the rules or are you letting God’s grace rule you? There’s a big difference between the two. If you’re living for God – living by the rules – you’ll always be exhausted. You’ll feel as if you’re not doing enough for God and that if you don’t measure up, He will be displeased with you. But God never meant for the Christian life to be that way! His love for us isn’t based on how we perform for Him.
God loves us so much! Have you ever slipped into the “have to do it” mode instead of I “get to do it”?
One of the SALT lessons uses 4 words that demonstrates this thought so well – Authority, Accountability, Affirmation and Acceptance.
Here’s how the 4 A’s work. Most of the “authorities” in our life teach us that to get their “acceptance” we have to perform…follow the rules. They hold us “accountable”. If we do everything right and follow the rules, we might receive their “affirmation” (like ‘Good job!’). If we keep up the good work, we might even gain their ”acceptance”. That is man’s way – performance based acceptance! Unfortunately that’s how many parents, teachers, bosses and husbands function.
God’s way of relating to us is just the opposite – Acceptance, Affirmation, Accountability and Authority. He “accepts” us before we did anything – good or bad. He tells us “affirmation” how much He loves us. As we get to know Him better, He shows us what to do and not do “accountability” - so our lives will be blessed. Finally we trust Him as the good “authority” that He is.
If you’ve been trying to live by the rules so God would accept you realize that you are already accepted! That makes doing things God’s way so much easier.