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Being a Christian is Not About Obeying a List of Rules

By: Bethany Beal

How often have you seen a girl “stay on track” until college, or her early twenties, and then go off the deep end? Her Christian faith seems to have all but disappeared and she is embracing her new found “freedom.”

Sadly, I’ve seen that exact scenario happen over and over and over again.

Somewhere along the way we, as Christians, have slightly (or majorly) missed the point of why we do what we do.

The Christian life has become a list of rules containing do’s and don’ts, and sadly we’ve left our Savior completely out of the picture.

Way too many young people view Christianity as restraining them from the “real” fun.

They view Christianity as a list looking something like this…

  • Don’t have sex until you are married.
  • Don’t watch bad movies.
  • Don’t have boyfriend until you are ready to get married.
  • Don’t wear low cut shirts.
  • Don’t wear pants.
  • Don’t flirt with guys.
  • Don’t curse.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Don’t cheat.
  • Don’t steal.
  • Don’t drink.
  • Don’t, don’t, don’t.

The list of don’ts continues on and on and many of us have no idea exactly why we shouldn’t do those things. Much less a real heart conviction on our own.

That list of don’ts is actually a pretty good list containing some great advice. That is if it’s viewed from the right perspective. If it’s not viewed from the right perspective, Christianity is nothing more than a rule book with checkboxes to mark off and good works to fulfill.

Honestly, if I didn’t understand the big picture reasons behind why I do what I do, I would have given up on this Christian life a long time ago.

Over the years, I have come to understand the “why” behind the do’s and don’ts. And that why is the reason that I (and Kristen) spend so much time writing about practical issues pertaining to personal holiness on the GirlDefined blog.

Here are the reasons why.

Nancy Leigh Demoss (in her book Holiness) shares seven big picture reasons for why we should be holy or set apart. I am going to take that list from her book and share it with you:

We are to be holy…

  1. Because God is holy.
  2. Because holiness is God’s stated goal for every believer.
  3. Because Jesus died to deliver us from sin.
  4. Because we are saints.
  5. Because our intimacy with God depends on it.
  6. Because we are going to live eternally in a holy city.
  7. Because the well-being of others depends on it.

Nancy goes on to conclude that chapter by saying:

“Why care about being holy? Why be willing to say no to your flesh and yes to God, day in and day out? Because the world desperately needs to see what God is like. Because it is your created purpose and your ultimate destiny to be holy. Because of the price Jesus paid to make you holy. Because you are a saint. Because holy people get to see and know God. Because you’re getting ready to move to a place where there is no sin. And because your example may inspire someone who is watching you to choose or reject the pathway to holiness.”

That is why we should care about saying yes to personal holiness.

That is why we should care about honoring God in the practical areas of life. First and foremost because God is holy and we are called to be like Him.

“Since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’’” (1 Peter 1:16).

Your Christianity is soooo much deeper than just obeying rules.

Your Christianity is about striving to be like your Savior. It’s about reflecting Him well to those around you. It’s about spending time daily with Him so that you can know His true character. It’s about personally choosing to live a set apart lifestyle because of your love for Jesus.

The next time you are tempted to view your Christian life as a drudgery or as a list of do’s and don’ts, stop and remember the why behind those choices. Remember those seven points that Nancy shared with us.

Remember your identity in Christ and your goal to become “set apart” like Him in every area of your life.

Let’s talk about it…

Do you understand the why behind what you do?
Why do you have convictions and standards? What is the purpose of those convictions and standards?

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Being a Christian is Not About Obeying a List of Rules

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