It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Acts 15:19
Everywhere a person goes there are some rules or regulations guiding people how to live or work where they are at. Some places are very lenient, having very few regulations, while others are extremely strict with an overload of rules.
The more rules that are laid out, the more difficult it is for people to follow them. It can become much easier to break the rules with many rules. It can also make it very discouraging to attempt to follow all of them.
The Jewish leaders in Antioch were laying down a lot of rules for new Gentile believers to follow in order to follow God. Paul told them they should not make it difficult for the new Gentile believers as they turn towards God.
One of the constant struggles for churches is in knowing what the rules are to be and remain a believer. While many believe that believing in Jesus and repenting of sins is enough to become a follower of Jesus, there are others that add a lot more.
There are also many churches that want the new believer to clean up his life completely before becoming a member. A long list of things to do or not do is given immediately upon becoming a Christian.
While it is good to begin guiding a new believer in how to live for Christ, giving a long list can be overwhelming and discouraging. It can push people away from God, because of the impossibility of fulfilling a long list of legal regulations, just as the Israelites had a problem with following God’s Law.
The focus for new believers should be building them up, little by little in what it means to follow Jesus, not all at once.
You may be a new believer who is struggling with being burdened with a load of regulations, or you may be an older believer who loads others down with rules. Either way, do not forget that the only thing required to be a believer is to believe in Jesus and repent of sins.
God will change your heart to be able to handle more rules as you continue to grow in Him, learning to trust and obey Him in every area of your life. Do not burden yourself or others with too much, too fast.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will give you strength and wisdom to obey His commands; that you will guide new believers in the ways of the Lord; and that God will guide you in helping new believers grow in the Lord.
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:40
Every time there is a group of people that are together, there is a list of rules and regulations to guide them. Some groups have only a few regulations, while others have thousands of rules.
Governments have thousands of pages of regulations on nearly every ruling. These are done this way to guide every one in nearly every possible situation, so that there is very little to no misunderstanding in the meaning of the ruling. No one can actually completely know every ruling of a government.
Someone had asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in the Law was. Jesus answered to love God and to love the neighbor. After answering, Jesus said that is was on those two commandments that all the rest of the Law and the prophets hung.
It is easy for a person to read the bible and get overwhelmed with all of the commands given throughout the bible. There are several hundred commands, dealing with nearly everything and anything in nearly every possible situation.
Unlike the governmental regulations that people can come up with, God’s commands all boil down to two very simple commands–love God and love others.
Love is not selfish and does whatever it can to help and build up the other person, regardless of who that other person is. It is putting others before self at any cost. The one who truly loves God will not want to hurt God by disobedience. The one who truly loves people will not want to hurt anyone at any cost.
As one looks closely at all of the commands of God in the bible, he will see that all of them are either about loving God or loving someone else in some way or another. Instead of being overwhelmed by the commands, one just needs to love God and others.
You may wonder what God wants you to do with your life, what commands God has for you. Rather than be concerned with a thousand commands, focus on two–loving God and loving others.
As you focus on loving God and loving others, you will steer away from sin against God or others. You will always be able to make the right choice.
Jesus came to bring love to you, how can you return and forward that love to God and others?
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength; that you will love others with the love God has for you; that your life will be focused upon following a path of love; and that you will see God’s love in every command He gives you.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28
Leaders are people who help put into place rules and regulations that help guide the people correctly. Over the years some men have enacted rules that have been great and helpful to millions of people.
As long as these leaders are remembered, their rules are also remembered. Once the person is forgotten, often the rules that were emplaced are forgotten. As soon as that occurs, people start to fall.
Paul points out that the people had chosen to forget about God. Since they had rejected God, He gave them over to their own ways to continue to sin more and more.
Looking back over history, one can see that nations who served God rose up great. Once they began to reject God, they started to fall. God allowed them to go their own way.
Several nations that were known to follow God have chosen to ignore God and do their own thing. People have rejected the rules and commands of God, choosing a life of sin.
God does not put a chain on them and demand that they follow Him. Rather, He will let them do what they desire. He lets them have their depraved mind.
America is one nation that is at this point as a whole. People have rejected God and promoted sin. Sin is becoming more rampant, excepted and openly promoted as good. Sadly, this is also occurring inside the church.
In order to stop this trend, believers must remember God and live according to His standards. They must go against the trends of this world in following God. Every believer must flee sin as fast as he can, staying as far away as possible from sin.
As a believer, you know the truth of God and His word. You are familiar with how God wants you to live. Do not allowed yourself to be deceived by the sinful ways of this world to fall into their depraved, sinful ways of living.
Stand out as different in following God with all of your heart, soul and mind. Stay in His word, knowing what God requires of you. Pray daily, so that you hear from Him.
As you do these things, God will not give you over to a depraved mind, but keep you in His hand.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek God daily; that you will know what God desires of you; that you will be His witness to this world; and that God will strengthen you to flee all sin.
But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.'” John 5:11
Rules and regulations can be found every there are two or more people anywhere in the world. They are put into place to govern what a person can and cannot do.
Often there are two different rules, by two different people, that contradict each other. One has to choose which he will obey. Usually the obedience goes to the one with the higher authority, unless there is rebellion, in which case a court may decide who was right.
On a Sabbath day Jesus had healed a lame and told him to take up his mat and walk, and he did. This went against the Jewish laws and the leaders were upset with him.
God has laid down some laws for man to obey. The world has also laid down laws that they want people to obey. It is very common that some of these laws are in conflict with each other.
Currently in America some are laying down laws that believers cannot gather in person in church or groups of more than a few people. This is something that has been done for years in many other countries already and goes against God’s command to gather together.
Every believer must choose if they are going to obey the laws of man or the laws of God when they are in conflict with each other. Regardless of which they choose, there will be difficult consequences.
Obeying man’s law over God’s will result in God being upset. Obeying God’s law over man’s will result in man being upset. The choice will result in eternal consequences. One brings eternal life, the other death.
As a believer, you have chosen to allow God to be your head ruler. God, in His infinite and perfect love, knows what is best for you. As you listen to His voice, He will tell you what must be done.
There will be times that it will go against the laws of man. During those times you must choose whom you will obey…God or man. God has the higher authority, since He has created everything and owns it all, including you.
Rather than bending to the desires of the world to live in sin, obey God’s commands and know true life. Do not be afraid to stand up for God and His laws against the ways of the world.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will hear God’s voice; that you will know God’s commands; that you will trust God’s commands; and that God will give you strength to do what He asks of you.