I have been reading through the Bible in 2015. A week or two ago, I came across a passage I liked…
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
As I was underlining it, I was thinking- “Great! Cliff’s notes!” And (because I am me, “This would make a great piece of art…”)
What does the Lord require of you?
- Fear the Lord your God
- Walk in obedience
- serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul
- Observe the Lord’s commands
What a great list. Something to aspire to. Something you can take, put in your pocket (bind to your forehead?) and check yourself against daily.
But as I was sitting with this verse, a voice whispered… but this is the old covenant…
Let me start off by saying, there is nothing WRONG with this list. It is scripture! Words from God! But, as I was reading this list, I was reading about ME. What I can do to make myself right with God. How I can ensure that my walk with God is ‘correct’. How I can give myself a daily grade that ensures that I am being a good enough Christ follower.
One thing God has been teaching me lately is that my faith is much less about me and my efforts than I think. Rather, it is so much more about GOD, and what He has done for me. I have been trying to live out a faith based on the old covenant- my perfection, my efforts.
I think it is so very… human of us to want to be in control of our relationship with God. Are spiritual practices good? Of course. But they do not control how much God loves us. Whether or not he will bless us. Instead, God’s blessings are given freely. And don’t always take the form we believe they should (read: money, happiness, easiness of life). In fact, God’s blessings can sometimes take the form of thorns in our sides, things that we must endure and grow through. Things that force us to turn to Him.
So what does God ask of us?
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 3:23
Belief. Love. Actions rooted in love and belief are SO much more grace filled than those born out of a sense of obligation or striving.
Can it be this simple? Can our faith, and faith practices, be built on love and belief instead of guilt and striving? Do you, like me, find yourself tempted to live out of the Old Covenant? If so, take a few moments today to pause. To allow yourself to feel loved, wholly and holy, just as you are.