Don’t make it harder than it is

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Fully Alive”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matthew 22:37-40 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Don’t make it harder than it is”
 
We make living the Christian life harder than it needs to be. By nature, most of us are black-and-white, cut-and-dry, rules-oriented people. We want to know exactly what’s expected of us. We want it spelled out clearly, and it would be nice if a checklist is provided so we can just check things off as we go.
 
That tends to be especially true when it comes to religion. People want clear guidelines, explicit rules and regulations, and even that checklist, so they can toe-the-line and not get in trouble with God. That’s exactly how the Old Testament Jews ended up with such an extraordinarily complex religious system of rules and regulations. Some of the stuff God gave them (Leviticus and Deuteronomy) was complex enough by itself, but then their leaders added incredible layers of detail to it. The end result was a heavy and onerous religion that was demanding and difficult.
 
But as we learned in yesterday’s devotional, Jesus set us free from that. Jesus took the complexity and difficulty out of it and, as we see in today’s Bible verse, He simplified it all down to a matter of the heart, “Just love God and love people, and you’re good-to-go.” Get your heart right, love God completely and fully, extend that love to how you interact with other people, and you will have fulfilled all of the Law and all of the commands from the Prophets.
 
So, don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Rather than memorizing, complying with, and submitting to the tyranny of heavy and complex lists of rules and regulations, focus instead on loving God and loving people, and then go enjoy life. If your heart is right the Holy Spirit will guide you through everything else. Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and rely not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.”
 
When your heart is right, your life will be too. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Love God and love people, and then just go enjoy life.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim    
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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