Rules, rules and rules
In the past, when I was younger, if you asked me what Christianity means, the first thought that comes to my mind would be the Ten Commandments. Wow! Why are there so many commandments I had to abide as a Christian? I cannot do this and cannot do that. Why so troublesome? Having that childish and unclear perspective of what Christianity was all about, I would use one word to tell you what Christianity is all about: rules.
Not having any deep knowledge of God's great love and mercy at that time, all I thought about was rules, rules and rules. I believe some of you reading this had or are having this misconception like I once had, that stepping into Christianity was about what I can do and what I cannot do. Therefore you would feel that Christianity is a religion with no freedom because of all the rules you had to follow.
Well, try thinking out of the box: have you ever wondered why God implemented all these commands? He did not command you to give you a hard life as a Christian; He does not want you to fall into sin:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
‘To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.’
Because of God’s mercy for you, you will feel sad; because you know God has forgiven you, you start to feel underserving of His forgiveness upon you. This is why the commandments are in place, to make sure you are not doing wrong so that you will not fall into sin. If committing an act of sin makes your spirits dampened because you felt you have angered God, why not start to live a life of holiness? Not only God will be happy, you will also be happy!
Therefore, rejecting sin means following the commandments of God; forsaking the world and following Christ:
‘For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome.’
‘Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.’
When we follow His ways and do what He wants us to do, we are doing the will of the Father, and thus this pleases Him. For instance, when we are focused on the things of this world, like politics or entertainment buzz, we tend to draw away from God because we will become so affected by them. Hence, we are not doing the will of God. However, when we start to shift our focus onto Jesus, by caring for His people or spending time reading His word, even when we are tired or have no time for homework, we are being hungrier for His presence and seeking Him more. Through this we will please His will. And, keeping His commands and applying it in your daily life also pleases Him!
When you become dead to sin and alive to Christ (Romans 6), you start to be an example for others to follow:
‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.’
‘Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’
When you start to live your life as a holy being, imitating the ways of Christ, people around you will start to see your change. Your testimony also serves as strength for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ; they will feel encouraged seeing the big difference Jesus has made in your life, and praise God for this great work. And, firstly, being a testimony for Christ requires you to lead a holy life, and you need to turn away from sin. Hence, the commandments serve as a guide for you to follow so that you will into fall into sin.
In conclusion, Christianity is not about rules; it is about the great love and mercy you will encounter once you step into Christianity. Once you forsake sin and tell the devil to move away from your life, sin will never enter in your life. Because Jesus became victorious when He died on the cross for our sins, we can say that we are victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!