What would happen if we stopped doing what someone says is mandatory, and started doing what we found engaging? Would do you think, would that that lead us toward greater fleshiness, or toward greater freedom in Christ? And what would be the biggest determining factor in that?
If you see this as something the Spirit has been doing in you or wants to do in you, share how he is doing that in you. I think this is one of the barriers for religious thinkers. They can’t conceive of a kingdom where people will do what is right because he has captured their hearts. They want to hem people in with rules and obligations. But if you’ve met people who embrace a depth of life in Jesus because it fulfills the deepest hunger of their souls, you’ll know how powerful it can be.
People who transform the world live out of endearment not obligation.
I think if we stopped doing the mandatory stuff, we would have freedom, fun, and a great deal more agape’ love.
I have also seen that there is a massive difference between obligation and endearment.
I have learned to work with others and see that neither I or them are perfect, but I refuse to operate by trying to control people with a harsh condemning attitude. We try to be kind and keep going back to focusing on God’s love. We also trust the Holy Spirit to guide people and set them back on the right path if it is needed.
Unfortunately in the rural area where I live, many people operate in the IC and refuse to see anything other than the IC ideology that they have known.
I’m feeling more of a pull from the Holy Spirit to go and talk to more people that are outside of the IC, that don’t attend, rarely attend, or who would likely consider themselves as non-Christian. I’m very shy, so this is difficult for me, but if the Spirit draws me in enough, it will eventually become irresistible and I will talk to others merely out of curiosity and out of a feeling that it would be fun to talk to certain people.
I like the way you’ve offered the questions for consideration, Wayne.
So, here are some thoughts.
Little children need rules to keep them safe. But as they internalize those rules to the point that they are obeying them automatically, parents ease off. However, without wise and loving parenting, many children become adults without a healthy set of internal guides. Then, in order to function adequately in society they look for external structure (military duty, legalistic church, fraternal organizations, etc.) that provide stabilizing rules.
For Christians however, the stabilizing influence needs to be Christ. That’s why he said,
“If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Joh 15:10 MKJV
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Joh 15:12 MKJV
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. Joh 15:4 MKJV
If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. Joh 15:7 MKJV
Notice that the freedom that comes from abiding in God’s love is obtained by internalizing Jesus’ words. So, as we become more obedient to Christ; we become better able to engage with one another in love. And, as you’ve implied elsewhere, love doesn’t impose rules on others.
An organization may impose rules, but for a Christian who belongs to such an organization, they can never be more than suggestions to which s/he will or won’t conform according to his/her conscience as guided by God’s holy spirit.
I love that Terry. The freedom that comes from learning to live in his love doesn’t make people more independent, but allows them to know the joy and freedom of love. And that will do wonders in the world. I find people who live by love instead of obligation to be far more fruitful in the world.