“If she keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, she shall surely live, she shall not die.” Ezekiel 18
Keep God’s statutes…follow the 10 commandments…do unto others as you would have them do unto you…do good, avoid evil….do no harm…follow the Beatitudes…..
These are all the typical Christian “rules to live by” that most of us have been taught since elementary school. Having the personality type that naturally likes to the follow the rules, always appeasing teachers to earn praise, it was not hard for me as a child to see those words as the ideal. I often felt this need to fulfill these “rules to live by” in order to make God happy, to appease Him and earn His praise. Sure, when it came down to it, I would fail---I would gossip with my friends, get in fights with my sister, lie to parents---you know typical kid “stuff.” But at some point, I would feel guilty, realize I had not lived up to these standards and work my way back towards earning brownie points with God. It is not necessarily easy to follow the rules, but I have always had this innate desire to do so.
Lately, I have been wrestling with this idea of following the rules, asking myself: “Have I been following God’s commandments just to appease Him like I had done with my teachers growing up? Have I been doing “good” just to win God’s love and stay on His good side? If so, what’s the point?!”
What is the point? If I have just been “following the rules” has my relationship with God been authentic, genuine or real? Where is my freedom if I feel I have to follow God’s commandments just to win His love for me? I feel like childishly crying out the words of today’s scripture: “The Lord’s way is not fair!” It is not fair that I feel I have to “follow the rules” when I turn around and see so many seemingly happy people who skate around some of these “rules.”
I write this today full of unanswered questions. I feel a restless voice inside of me challenging me to take a deeper look at my relationship with God…to actually wrestle with these questions and examine how I have been following His statues. I fear what might come but have hope that it will draw me closer to spiritual freedom.
This Lent, how are you being challenged to examine your personal relationship with God and His life giving statutes? Is there genuine love and authentic freedom in your relationship with God?
Reflected by Regina Galassi