For the next several weeks we will be embarking on a journey to discover how we can make love our ultimate goal in life. Join us as we jump into a devotional written by Rick Warren titled, “40 Days of Love – A 28 Day Devotional” provided by YouVersion.
God Wants to Give You Life, Not Legalism
Some people wrongly think following Jesus means they have to become judgmental and legalistic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life: “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10 MSG).
It is Satan who wants to “steal and kill and destroy” your freedom and your joy.
Often well-meaning and misguided people can cause us to avoid God because of their fanaticism. Here are the types of religious fanatics I’ve observed over the years:
Freddy the Pharisee: Rigid, narrow-minded, and legalistic, he has a rule for everything. His favorite word is “don’t.” And it’s only natural for some people to fear they may become just like that if they become a Christian. But Jesus called people like Freddy the Pharisee “blind guides,” saying, “You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:24 NLT, second edition)
Susie Self-righteous: With a holier-than-thou attitude and judgmental of others, her favorite phrase is, “Thank God I’m not like you!” Jesus told the story of two men praying, one self-righteous and one humbled by his failures: “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
Billy Bible-thumper: He’s an obnoxious and overzealous crusader. His favorite phrase is “Turn or burn!” Yet God’s plan for bringing us home to him is full of love, grace, and sacrifice: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17 NIV).
Pauline Praise-eluia: She can’t speak without religious clichés. Everything is a miracle or the Devil did it. She’s put her brain on the shelf. But God doesn’t want you to stop thinking when you become a Christian; in fact, he wants to give you the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
These are stereotypes, but they represent people who have abandoned their relationship with Jesus to instead embrace a religion. But Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life [not religion] and have it to the fullest!”
This devotional © 2015 by Rick Warren.