As a child, I was taught many of the rules of the Bible. I was taught all of the good things that I should be doing as well as avoiding all of the bad things. If I were to write a list of all the rules in the Bible. It would be impossible to obey them all, but I tried. I often felt defeated, because I couldn’t do all that I felt that I should do.
Now, I don’t think perfection is the goal. If we were perfect, we will not need God. God wants us to realize that we need Him. Rather than striving for perfection by being a rule follower, I trust Jesus and his forgiveness.
Rather than trying and failing at forcing myself to be obedient in my own strength. I am trying to live out 1 John 3:6 which says, “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” If we want to avoid sin, we must abide in Jesus. That is the only way to avoid sins. You are not strong enough to do it yourself.
I have struggled with the idea of abiding in Jesus. Abiding with Jesus seems to indicate that I have to spend time with Jesus. Often when I set goals for Bible reading, Bible memorization, or prayer (spending time with Jesus), I often feel legalistic. Sometimes, I feel like my obedience becomes more important than the relationship that I seek, and that shift in priority is sin.
The only way I have found to be abide in Christ, rather than becoming simply more obedient, is to change the reason why I do what I do. Abiding in Christ means that I do things because of love.
When I wash the dishes, because I am concerned about my appearance, I simply obedient. When I wash the dishes, because I want to show my family I honor them, I am abiding in Christ.
When I run, because it helps me to feel better, I am obedient. When I run, because it is a great time to pray, I am abiding in Christ.
When I abiding with Christ, my actions will not always change, but my motives change towards love. Love is the heartbeat of Christianity. If God did not love us, there would be no point in life. If we don’t love others, we are not abiding in Christ. Make love your motivation.
I challenge you to remember 1 John 4:16 (NASB) which says, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
When we make love our motivation, we are abiding in God, and God’s laws cease to be burdensome (1 John 5:3).
How would making love your motivation change your attitude about task that you don’t enjoy?