Why is the Way of Jesus so hard to follow? Could it be that we find it too simple? That there HAS to be more to it?
26 My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways,
The writer of Hebrews tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus (12:2).” Doesn’t it make more sense to focus on His “Righteous Rules For Living?” There is a danger here, much like the adulterous woman, that can draw us away from the Source of life. We don’t follow a creed or a set of rules; we follow a Person. The relationship is exclusive in that there is no room for anything else.
You might ask, “But aren’t His commands as important as Him?” My answer would be, “Yes and no.” Yes, in that they show us His heart and His Plan and direction, but, no, in that HE must be the ONE to direct us even as we read His commands. Otherwise, we are left to our own interpretation, which is never a good thing because our view is always incomplete and filtered by our context (experiences, culture, etc).
Let’s take Romans 16:17 as an example.
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. Ro 16:17
What had they learned? Did Paul include all of His doctrine in his letters? How were they able to discern except by the Spirit (note: the Spirit of God IS Jesus)? According to what I have read in His Word and to what His Spirit has shown me, the ONLY things we are to judge are the teaching that there are more ways to God other than Christ, and the teaching that there is more to salvation than faith in Him. Anything else is subject to the interpretation of each person as the Spirit leads.
So, how are we supposed to live? We live by the Platinum Rule given by Christ Himself in the upper room:
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn 13:34-35
Paul fleshed out this new command:
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: … 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Phl 2:5,7
What does that look like, Paul?
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 5:1 Be imitators of God [be like Jesus as the Spirit leads us], therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ep 4:32-5:2
There is one more passage I would like for us to consider:
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ep 4:2-3
These two verses are the hardest to live out. The natural judgmental nature of how we perceive things predisposes us to judge our brothers and sisters. A quick search of the word, “judge,” in the NT will set us straight on that note! Instead, let us live together in unity of the Spirit. Remember: the world is watching us!
Be like Jesus as the Spirit leads us.