“Rules v. Relationship”

If you do a quick search for a definition of Christianity, you are likely to find something about “following the teachings of Jesus.” And that’s true—Christianity is about following Jesus’s teachings. The problem is most people turn the idea of “following Jesus” into “following rules”—and that’s not the point.

The story of the Bible makes it clear that the point of knowing Jesus is for a relationship, not rules. As you begin to explore what God tells us about Himself through the Bible, you are going to find that being in a loving, committed relationship with Him is the main thing.

So saying that the main idea of Christianity is to follow teaching points is like saying that the main idea of marriage is to share your household bills. Not exactly what we hope for in a great love story!

This perspective of rules versus relationship is a great divide that distinguishes Christianity from other religions. Where most religions teach that the way to “be good” is through required practices and rigid beliefs, Christianity starts from a different place.

From the earliest times, Jesus’s followers weren’t known for following rules or “being good.” The thing that stuck out—the thing that was worth mentioning—was the mere reality that they had “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Not that they acknowledged Jesus, not that they followed the behavioral system of Jesus, but that they were “with” Him.

Being with Jesus is what transformed these people from what the Bible calls “unschooled, ordinary men” into courageous, bold leaders. And that’s the same reality we are offered when Jesus invites us into a relationship: to “be with Him.”

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