“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”-Ephesians 5:1-2
Have you ever gripped something so tightly, the blood ran away from your knuckles? I have ridden a few roller coasters and was surprised to see there was no imprint made on the steel lap bar holding me in my seat when I exited the ride. Especially on a wooden roller coaster, I am holding on for dear life and yes, my knuckles (and often my face!) are pale from a lack of blood flow. My fear is there are many Christians who view living a Spirit led life like a roller coaster. They are just hanging on until their knuckles are white.
So, what is the difference between a “white knuckle” Christian and a disciple who enjoys the ride? In all likelihood, the former is a law-keeper and the latter is a life-liver. If I view my walk of faith as a set of rules I must follow, I will struggle to hang on. However, if I see following Jesus as an opportunity to transform my will and life to become more like Christ, I won’t even need the rules.
Our pale metacarpal-jointed friends see the Bible as a set of dos and don’ts. Often they see the rules of Christianity as a bar they must clear to go to heaven. This leads to asking themselves, “What is the least I can do and not go to hell.” This kind of attitude manifests itself in sentences like: “Why do we have to go on Wednesday night?” “Who can define what drunkenness is anyway?” “Do they really want me to study my Bible before class?” “You can’t show me where, Bible class, gospel meetings, work days, pot lucks, or anything other than one worship service a week is in the Bible! Don’t you bind something on me that Christ didn’t bind!”
First of all, yes I can: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…all who believed were together and had all things in common…And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,”-Acts 2:42-46.
Secondly, what a miserable way to live! What they need to do is die. No, no! Not that kind of die. The reason a white knuckler can’t live in peace is they haven’t crucified their flesh. If my heart wants to smoke, drink, and dance, then my body will find a way. If my heart of stone had been softened by the gospel of God’s sacrifice of his Son and I have given my will over to the leading of the Spirit, then my body will seek good and not evil.
It comes down to this. Am I trying to just keep the rules well enough to avoid hell, or am I trying to become more Christ-like in heart, soul, mind, and spirit? I find the Sermon on the Mount to be a good measuring stick. Are the meek and poor in spirit “suckers” or do I have enough courage to turn the other cheek, bless when cursed, or be wronged?
In Luke chapter six, Jesus tells us a tree is known by its fruit. Christianity is now about keeping a list laws. It is about transformation and conversion. What do I want to do? Our Lord says, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil,”-Luke 6:45.
God doesn’t want evil people who “just hold on” by keeping a few good rules. The Creator of this world wants our heart. Good deeds flowing from a good heart. After all, it is the, “pure in heart”-Matthew 5:8, who will see God.