If you based ever based what you think the Christian life is off of what your scheduled to do on weekend religious retreats or in youth group summer camps, you’d think it consists of:
- daily Scripture reading
- prayer/time spent worshiping the Lord each day
- fellowship with other Christians
- obeying God’s commands (rules)
And I don’t disagree. I think many churches and pastors would agree this is a fine list of what the Christian life is.
It’s no secret that religious people have created far more laws than the founders of the religion ever set up. Jesus didn’t set up a lot of rules or give many commandments to be followed – he barely made any such things (which ones he did mandate are still are being debated).
Jesus didn’t instruct people to pray this much, or read this much this often. Not once did Jesus say you must have study Scripture daily. Your pastor would likely say yes, of course you should be doing this (for good reason), but Jesus didn’t make that law – plain and simple. Jesus didn’t instruct his disciples to do daily devotions. Try throwing that in your camp counselor’s face next summer!
This is one instance where what Jesus didn‘t do actually makes a statement to me – not establishing a law or criteria of some kind does not seem accidental, an “oops forgot to do that while on earth.”
Did Jesus even set up the Christian life as we know it today? This is veering the post off in a different direction and I’ll contain it – but how did our version of the Christian life get so tame? Why can you do almost all of the Christian life from your favorite armchair next to the fireplace?
The greater point here is that there is a reason these laws were never established. Laws have little power to penetrate our hearts, which are often calloused and cold-walled. Jesus could have easily said “you should study Scripture every day, and of course you should pray and worship that much too,” and even though these are really great recommendations, turning them into laws would do nothing for the ability of these acts to move in us and cause/continue transformation.
Ultimately, there is no judgment here. Jesus didn’t want us holding to these kind of lines. What he wants is our hearts, and he gets more of our hearts when they’re not fenced in or worried about breaking rules.
Well, have I gone off the deep end yet again? Would agree Jesus didn’t purposefully set up those kind of laws (or many other laws for that matter)?
(note: I’m not advocating any ‘anything goes is cool with Jesus’ kind of morality, I really hope you can tell. But inevitably someone would see that when I say Jesus didn’t make many rules).