Have you ever heard the Bible referred to as a ‘book of rules?’
Or maybe the Apostolic Lifestyle?
People have said that they don’t want to be a Christian because of all the rules we have to follow. And some who call themselves Christians have mocked the covenant lifestyle of the Apostolic church, claiming themselves to be “free” from the bondage of the “rules” we follow.
They want to somehow separate living for God from actually following the commandments of God.
It's relationship-only; no rules allowed.
But is that Biblical?
Because Deuteronomy talks a lot about obeying the voice and commandments of God, and we read in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
So, if we don’t keep the commandments of God, does that mean we don’t love Him?
If you know the Word of God, it’s impossible to separate a relationship with the God of the Bible from obedience to the Bible. Our hearts must be engaged, but the fruit of our relationship with God will always be revealed in our obedience to the commandments of God.
Sounds like there are some rules involved.
If you love Him, it won’t be a problem to do what He asks you to do, to live as He’s outlined for us in the Bible, and be a separate and holy people. Those things will flow naturally out of our love for God.
But for those who might still struggle with the idea of following rules, I want to remind you that you are following rules one way or another.
It really comes down to deciding whose rules you will follow.
If the Bible isn’t telling you what to do and how to live your life, then the world is (a world influenced by the enemy of your soul).
If you don’t think that’s true, just open up your Instagram or TickTock and you’ll see a lot of content from people telling you what to wear and what not to wear, what to support and what not to support, what is just and what isn’t, what’s acceptable in our culture and what isn’t…
These are the rules of the world.
And the majority of them don’t line up to the Word of God at all.
The rules of this world lead to heartache, chaos, comparison, materialism, immorality, bondage, and a lot of despair. The rules of the world lead to sin, and sin means separation from God.
God’s rules aren’t in place out of spite or a desire to keep us from having fun.
His rules are in place because He loves us and hates the sin that separates us from Him.
His rules are in place because He knows that sin leads to a life of pain, a life without peace, a life of sickness, anxiety, depression. Sin hurts us and its pleasures only last for a season. What it leaves behind is anything but pleasure.
In contrast, following God’s rules ensure not just a better life, but an abundant life. It leads to joy, prosperity, peace, and all the other fruits of the Spirit abundantly operating in our lives.
So whose rules will you follow?
Who will you allow to tell you what to do?
I recommend we follow the example of Joshua who told Israel to choose which god they will serve. They could make the choice and serve the gods of the Canaanites - and deal with the heartbreaking consequences of that choice. Or, they could serve the God who delivered them out of Egypt, provided for them in the wilderness, and did the miraculous on their behalf.
Let’s join our voice with Joshua and proclaim, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We will choose to obey His commandments, and enjoy the consequences of a life much more abundant in Him.