more than rules
Have you noticed that when some people talk about God it is just different? When they talk about Him, you sense the love and appreciation that they have for Him. They can share personal things that He told them. It is clear that they enjoy their relationship with Him. I love being around this kind of people because they encourage me to pursue that same kind of relationship with God. I don't want to miss out on what they are experiencing!
So many Christians go through life having a relationship with God that does not measure up to what God offers us and it results in boring times with God, lives with little or no spiritual fruit and forced discipline with nothing joyful to look forward to.
For here is the covenant I will one day establish with the people of Israel: I will embed my laws within their thoughts and fasten them onto their hearts. I will be their loyal God and they will be my loyal people. And the result of this will be that everyone will know me as Lord! There will be no need at all to teach their fellow-citizens or brothers by saying, ‘You should know the Lord Jehovah,’ since everyone will know me inwardly, from the most unlikely to the most distinguished. Hebrews 8:10-11 (Passion Translation)
In the quoted scripture, we find a picture of what God had in mind in terms of relationship with us. We have a covenant built on amazing promises and that gives us wonderful privileges. At the root of this new covenant is a heart to heart relationship with God. This relationship is open to all who have accepted Jesus Christ. Friendship with God certainly includes holiness and obedience, but it is not about merely following rules. In fact, the reason for a relationship with God being reduced to rules is due to a lack of passion. Where there is passion, there is effort. When we become lazy - when we stop pursuing God's heart; that is when things get dull. We exchange hearing God's heart directly from Him with second hand information of his commands. It takes less time and effort for me to ask my wife what she needs me to do than spending time looking into her eyes, listening to what is on her heart and then go on and do something that will make her happy. The same applies with our relationship with God, when we only wait long enough to hear a command we end up with an empty and legalistic expression of faith - the kind that never will entice anybody else to seek a similar relationship with God.
A heart to heart relationship requires more effort, but it becomes so enjoyable that it energizes you to keep going at it. In this kind of relationship a conversation with God becomes natural instead of forced, spiritual revelation flows and turning away from sin is less difficult. God paid with the blood of Jesus so that we can be in a life-giving relationship with Him. Anything less is cheapening the price that Jesus paid.
Since our relationship with God is through being one with His Son (Romans 6:3), we come to God as sons. Jesus beautifully models what a relationship with God will look like. When you study the four gospels, you get a glimpse of His passion for God, His prayer life, His reverence, obedience, cooperation, dependence and confidence in God. Jesus successfully navigated life and ministry, faced the greatest trials and came out victorious because of His relationship with God.
May Jesus' relationship with the Father inspire you to continue pressing in for a heart-to-heart relationship with the God of the universe and in turn, may your relationship with God inspire others to seek God's heart too.