What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
-Galatians 2:19-21, The MSG
Growing up, at least in every place outside of my house, I was called “goody-goody,” “angel child," “goody two shoes,” “the good child,” “the polite one,” etc. Whether I liked it or not, I was identified by my actions.
In the Old Testament, only priests were able to enter God’s presence, and we were separated from God by a veil. Before Jesus’ death we were bound by laws and regulations because we didn’t have access to God like we do now. That veil represented all of the rules we had to abide by, including the sacrifices we had to offer as a consequence. But the moment that Jesus died, that veil literally tore and we no longer had to live by rules, but by conviction and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus became the price that paid for our personal relationship with Our Father, and now we don’t have to worry about doing the right thing, we just need to draw near to Him, and the conviction and desire to do what’s right will follow. We have been saved through love and not law! Just doing what’s right and living through actions won’t bring you happiness, the same way that your mistakes won’t define your future.
When Jesus was resurrected, the first thing He did was fellowship with His disciples; He walked with them, ate with them, and it wasn’t until then that they realized it was their resurrected Savior. They recognized Him through His desire to just be with us, not keeping score of what we do right and wrong.
Our God loves us so much that He would look past what we’ve done and accept us just based on the openness of our hearts. I am so thankful that we don’t live for a “Santa Claus God” that judges us based on our actions!
You can do good and not be convicted, but you can’t be convicted and not do good. So focus on your relationship with the Lord and everything else will fall into place.
Naia is a fifth-generation follower of Jesus. Music and performing arts - singing, especially - is her passion, and she lives for late-night talks about the Holy Spirit. She recently moved to SoCal and is excited for the new doors God is opening for her and her family. Naia is one of our 2017 interns at GLAM Camp for Girls.