Giving Rules w/o the Groundwork of a Relationship Never Works

My kids have this weird habit. Maybe your kids have/had it. They hate being told what to do. I think they got it from their mother. OK, maybe they didn’t get it from their mother. I have always disliked being told what to do. I’ve always wanted to do things my own way, which has unfortunately lead to me having to learn many lessons the hard way.

- I had to touch the stove to believe it was hot
- I had to lick the flagpole to know my tongue would stick
- I had to pee on the electric fense to find out if….ok that’s a lie, I’ll take people’s word on that one

Truth is, and I know I’m not alone in this, most people don’t like being told what to do. And this is especially true if the directions are coming from someone we don’t know or don’t trust. I saw this over and over again when I worked in retail. The giving of rules without the groundwork of relationship never works out well.

Many people have this same problem with religion. They perceive Christianity as nothing but a bunch of rules, because they don’t understand the relationship with Christ undergirding the whole thing. Christians themselves are guilty of perpetuating this problem by laying on unbelievers the laws of God instead of inviting people to come and see and know Jesus as a first step.

We learn from Matthew 17 that the first step in becoming a follower of Jesus is seeing who Jesus really is - the beloved Son of God, in whom God is well pleased. It is this knowledge of Jesus, this intimate knowing of who Christ is, that motivates my listening to him. This is why reading your Bible, for yourself, regularly, is such an important practice. In reading God’s Word we come to know in greater detail and depth who Jesus was. In God’s Word we discover the love, grace, forgiveness, power, humility, kindness, compassion, strength, passion, and welcomingness of Christ.