The faith which I have come to hold as most sacred to me has been a very significant factor in shaping me. Christianity has shaped the way I think about, well, pretty much everything. I am really thankful that has happened. I guess my life would look remarkably different if I had not met God, and he had not transformed my life in the way he did.
I have come to understand that the Christian faith teaches a lot of rights and wrongs. It is right to feed the homeless, to care for the unloved, to heal the sick. It is wrong to take advantage of the weak, to abuse what we are given and to forget that every life is sacred because God holds it in his hands. This talk of right and wrong is unpopular even in the Church today, some even relegating ‘laws’ to the Old Testament, claiming that the rules only applied to the people before Jesus came, and now we don’t need rules.
I know I have always needed rules. The rules in the bible show me how to live with other people and also show me what God is like. They are a regular reminder that I am incapable of obeying them by myself, or rather with my own strength. The rules in the bible ultimately serve to show what a human being is capable of with the power of God’s Spirit. That is why we say Jesus was the fulfilment of the law.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)
Through Christ, I have the ability to live according to the law of God. As I have pursued the knowledge of God, seeking to follow him diligently, although brokenly at times, I have experienced the changes he promised would occur. He has restored my heart to seek after the things he intended it for, and so I understand some things are not right for me. I understand that sex is sacred to God, to be enjoyed with one woman in the safety of marriage. I understand a humans worth is not in what they can produce for me or their contribution to society, but their value to God is placed in my heart. Seeking to own lots of things will not make me happy, rather living with God and participating in his grand adventure makes my soul sing.
Amid all these rights and wrongs which steer my feet along the narrow path, the one I walk with Jesus, many who would also walk with him often act in ways which I don’t think are right. They might see no issue in having sex outside of marriage, they might be ignorant of the ways in which their behaviour is abusive to other people and may love to have a big pay cheque each month.
And to contradict all my pious thoughts of thinking, feeling and doing what God wants, these sort of things derail my faith. When someone else who shares my faith acts in a way contrary to the way God has revealed, I somehow assume that’s permission to act similarly. Maybe I won’t go to the same extremes, but when someone has been sleeping with someone they’re not married to, I might feel no moral dilemma in staring at a girl as she walks by. Or I might feel I’m doing no wrong, when slandering the character of another person, or preferring to earn a little extra instead of faithfully serving a worthy cause.
At odds with what I want to believe is the state of my heart, which usually finds satisfaction in feeling a little bit superior to someone I should be in loving fellowship with.
My heart is not satisfied in God. It is not happy knowing that it is right in the sight of God. It does not rejoice that it can share in his great love for the world.
And so, I disobey God and contradict that which I know to be right. And then another believer stumbles, disillusioned that I would be such a hypocrite.
How amazing would it be if my soul was so excited by God, as it was in the beginning, that it relentlessly sought him, rejoicing in him and finding it’s full satisfaction in his great glory. My eyes might look to behold Jesus, rather than deviously pursuing evil. My heart might be filled with love, and my spirit might find its strength in the power of God and not the praise of man.