When Jesus walked this earth, he worked to get the focus off “good” people doing what appeared to be “good things” and to get their focus back on God. Many people in first-century Israel were pointing to the rules; Jesus pointed to a God who wanted a relationship with his people. Religious professionals focused on the law; Jesus focused on the Lawgiver who knew our hearts and offered us grace in the midst of our failures.
A healthy, growing faith is always focused on the person of God himself, not on cheap substitutes. A healthy faith begins and ends in God, not in rules or regulations or sheer, raw duty. Jesus, not religion, is at the core of a robust Christian faith.
Today Jesus offers you and me the same opportunity he gave to those people in the early church. Oh, we can still perform and conform out of obligation. We can still try to feel good by all the “good deeds” we chalk up.
Or we can love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. We can experience his love and come to know him intimately. We can stop hiding behind our facades of religious order and meet him right where we are. We can focus on him and find sanity, rest, and peace when all hell seems to be breaking out around us.
I urge you to experience for yourself his love and acceptance. Grow closer to him and choose him because you truly love him. Make himnot your “good deeds” nor anyone or anything elsethe focus of your life.
I promise you will never regret it.
Excerpted from More Jesus, Less Religion by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton
Daily Reflection: How can you ensure your focus is on God and not your deeds?