You have the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20); and you heard what Jesus said, "A new command I give you, to love one another"; and then there are many letters to early churches setting the rules for what to do and what not do, right?
So, how does that feel? Some Christian's might say, it does not matter how you feel; it is not about feelings, it is about following Jesus. I agree with the latter, but not the former. It DOES matter how you feel. I think, if God did not care how we felt, he'd send us all to hell and be done with it!
I see in God's word, a command to love God. Have you ever heard of anyone truly loving anyone, without any feelings? God expects us to feel and, in a sense, guide our feelings, positively, toward Him.
If we can assume that feelings ARE important, then you can openly and honestly respond to the first question: How does that make you feel (concerning Biblical commands and requirements)?
Can I share what I have heard from church members?
I hear comments like this:
"There are just so many, 'Thou Shalt Not's'"
"Seems like everything in Christianity is a 'Don't do."
Some people believe that what we should do is outweighed by what we are not supposed to do. That could be a valid point. As a pastor, I do hear Christians talk a lot more about what they are not supposed to do. I also see that many times the many "not supposed to", becomes a guideline rather than true Godly commands. With that mentality, the rules are haphazardly followed or not at all.
Now, some of that is just pure selfish sin, but there is another ingredient at work here. If you feel completely overwhelmed by the "don'ts" you may just give up and say, it's impossible. Of course that would not be righteous or Godly, but it would be typically human.
What concerns me is that there are thousands of Christians today that pull back from their relation with God because they feel like he is trying to take something from them. All those "shall do's" and "shall not do's" just seems like God is ultra-controlling and wants a pound of flesh. Perhaps some of that feeling comes from being bombarded by commercials and salesmen, all our life. No matter how good the product, in the end, they are looking for you to give them something; and the more you give the more they want. Does that feel a little like God, to you? Does the God given "thou shalt" seem like God is just wanting more and more and that you can never satisfy Him or give Him enough? Do you slack off, when you feel that way?
Let me tell you a secret: God is not out to get you and He is not trying to take anything from you; in fact, God is trying, desperately, to give into your life. He invested His future into mankind from the beginning and he paid dearly to preserve mankind for all time. That means YOU. He wants to walk with you, like he did with Adam, in the garden. He desired fellowship with you; He wants to talk to you. He is also like an earthly father that loves to give gifts to his kids.
It may seem strange, but even God's discipline is designed to make you and your life better. He wants you to be in His house forever (Heaven is His house). He wants to see you mature and become a wise Christian who can manage yourself as well as others. He wants to complete your joy, in every way.
So, the next time, God's Word seems tedious or like God is trying to take all your joy of life, stop and reconsider. God is right there beside you, wanting to be hand in hand, through all of life's challenges. He wants to give you the wisdom and strength to obey His will; to follow it joyfully, knowing He is leading you to a better place in this life and into a deeper and more loving relation with Him.
Begin to trust God, like you never have; trust Him to know how to make you happy. Turn toward his direction at every corner; look Him straight in the eyes and drink from His loving embrace. He loves you and wants to be with you; He wants to nurture a love that He has had for you from before the world was made.
Dave Campbell has ministered for 30 years from large platforms to local outreaches. He has counseled hundreds of people with difficult issues. Today he is a professional writer, employed full time, as well as a free-lance writer for Christ.
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