The Rules

I believed for years that God loved me more than He loved other people.

Of course I didn’t say so.

But I thought He cared about me more because

I wore the right clothes

I listened to the right music

I read the right books

I talked to the right people

I even ate the right food.

Surely He must be pleased.

What I didn’t realize was that my view of what was “right” was skewed. Horribly skewed.

I wore the clothes someone else–not God–said were right.

I listened to the music someone else-not God–said I should listen to.

I lived a life dictated by what someone else–not God–said to do.

I didn’t know I was in this bondage. It was all came from a heart that simply wanted to do right.

Besides, it all looked so godly.

But in my zeal, I followed God the quick and easy way… by living someone else’s set of rules.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been involved with the groups that taught me such severe formulas as the way to God. I’ve been crawling out of a pit of legalism for a while.

But I didn’t realize just how many of those harmful thought patterns I’ve still carried with me.

Last weekend, I spent a few days with women who were nothing like the former version of me. In fact, the formula life was a completely foreign idea to them.

They loved the Lord. They walk closely with Him. They know His heart.

The former version of me would have looked down my nose at these women. Because they don’t even know about the rules.

Instead, the new version of me was refreshed, encouraged, restored.

Because these are the women who have discovered the simplicity of the heart of God. And the new me wants to find that beautiful, trusting spirit.

I wish I’d never learned all the rules.

Because the truth?

Jesus doesn’t give a complicated, rule-filled formula for knowing Him.

And unlearning the formula is much harder than finding and following it.

Jesus loves me

This I know,

For the Bible

tells me so…

originally published at Heart & Home


  1. The other week I was writing down my struggles in forgiving someone who sinned grieviously. I realized that although I believed God had forgiven that person, I unconsciously thought that when we stood before God forgiven, I was “whiter” than the other person, I was more clean, because I hadn’t sinned in that way. How arrogant, and yet so hard to let go of. Before God, any amount of sin is horrid, and we are in equal need of the blood. I have to keep reminding myself of that.
    I just wanted to share that for whoever might relate.

  2. Wow that was beautiful! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of legalism and be so scared that you aren’t following some tiny detail, when in reality Christ is all-sufficient. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. I can identify completely. I used to live by everyone else’s standards.

  4. Ashleigh – thank you so very much. This post really spoke to my heart this afternoon. I (my flesh) is a confirmed rules lover, but the ‘new me’ (my spirit) is learning to rebel and fix my heart on Christ alone.

  5. This is beautiful, and I can identify! I can’t believe the joy and freedom from simply loving the Lord and others rather than being stressed and weighed down by wondering how everything looks to certain people.

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