On a recent Sunday night we were discussing what a relationship with God looks like, with our high school students. After some discussion, we got around to discussing that many Christians view a relationship with God, in terms of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Most people boil it down to a list of good things and bad things.
As I ponder on this I wonder if we or I understand, how these two things can not go together. Any relationship based on “do’s” and “don’ts” is not a real relationship. If my marriage were based on me completing a daily “marriage checklist,” it would not be a relationship it would be a duty.
In Ephesians 5:25 we are told that the example for husbands in how they should love their wives, is the example of how Christ loved the church. Scripture uses the marriage metaphor more than in just this instance to describe a relationship with God. So if my marriage is not based on duty and “do’s” and “don’ts” why is my relationship with God.
Maybe it is because we have one of two misguided views on grace. For some people they can not except grace. They must have some sense of ownership in this so they feel like their list of “do’s” and “don’ts” gets them earned credit with God. For others they rely on grace as a license to do whatever they please. But what if grace is the freedom to obey.
You see if I am willing to confess that 1. God knows what is best for me and 2. God wants me to experience the most joy, then my best option is obedience. Real joy is found in obedience. And obedience is not adhering to a list of “do’s” and “don’ts;” obedience is a desire to experience real joy.
Now if I am right now do I convey this in a concrete way to students?