Have you ever considered that rules are for the faithless? A relationship based on rules instead of love is void of faith. In fact, it’s not a relationship; or at least not an intimate one. If anything, it’s a business relationship that tends to center on fear rather than faith. Even “the Law is not of faith” (Galatians 3:12). A couple reasons it was in place was to protect those who followed it, and bring them to the realization they can never become righteous apart from Jesus Christ; much less, earn a relationship by following a bunch of rules. As we read the entirety of chapter three, we find that the Apostle Paul admonished the Galatians for following works after receiving the Spirit by faith.
If you were wooed by the Holy Spirit. If you entered into a relationship with Him through faith, and then tried following a bunch of self-imposed rules instead of love, it should not be a surprise if you feel distant from Him. Scripture clearly states love fulfills the Law.
By trying to adhere to rules instead of love, you will feel unworthy of a relationship with God. Why? Your focus changes from faith to the fear of failure.
Once you center on not breaking the rules, you’ll start breaking them. You become sin-conscious, and that puts a wedge between you and the Father. “He couldn’t possibly want anything to do with me. I’m not worthy.” That is so not the Gospel! Have you not heard that there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you less, or more for that matter? Why did Jesus die on the Cross for you? Because He loves you. Before receiving Jesus, He loved you. John 3:16For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Think about that a moment, and let it sink in. Because He loves you, He dealt with your sin first. If He dealt with it, why would you try to deal with it by following rules? Think about it.
When you simply follow love, rules aren’t required for a relationship to flourish. Love is focused on benefitting the recipient, so there’s no need for boundaries. For example, if you truly love someone, you’ll never consider stealing from him or her. If anything, the opposite would be true in that you would want to give to him or her. True love never even considers crossing the line. Love is self-contained. Love enables you to enjoy the relationship. Who enjoys following a bunch of rules? The religious.
Religion controls the relationship, and that kind of relationship is totally dysfunctional. It is fear-based; not love-based. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God is Love. If God wanted you to live in terror, He would never have loved you to begin with. Religion is self-centered.
The religious are afraid to relinquish control. They live with the illusion they can keep God in a box.
Why do you suppose the Spirit-led life is foreign to them? They love formulas. Spontaneity scares the daylights out them. Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The letter of the Law kills (see 2 Corinthians 3:6).
Basic Christianity clearly states it is what Jesus did that makes us worthy; not what you think you can do. Worthy is the Lamb! Intimacy simply requires love. If after reading Matthew 7:21-23, you wonder if the Lord knows you, here’s the simple answer: But if any one loves God, he has been known of him (1 Corinthians 8:3). To know refers to the intimate knowledge found in a relationship. He knows everyone, but not everyone is intimate with Him.