I recently read a quote which said, “The Bible isn’t a rulebook. It’s a love letter.” This couldn’t be more true, God has written this book so we see how much we are loved and by whom we are loved. But so often we misinterpret that quote, we isolate love and the law and at times justify our lack of obedience with God’s unconditional love and mercy.
The truth is God will love us no matter what, but that isnt a reason to live however we want. God is our father and wants what’s best for us and therefore has given us laws to live by, these are not a test of our obedience but rather a plan for protection. I was once challenged to imagine a world without the 10 Commandments, a world where everyone thinks murder is perfectly reasonable sounds pretty scary to me! The law isn’t there instead of love but because of love. God’s ways don’t restrict us, but bring us freedom.
Also it’s important that we don’t see the law as a burden, rather something we do as a result of our love for God. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul speaks of the importance of love in the context of how we live and serve, stating “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
The Bible is a book which not only shows us God’s love, but instructs us on how we can love and serve Him. This does not mean our faith is measured on how well we perform. We must be differentiate between legalism and obedience. Both observe God’s teaching however one brings freedom, the other does not.
So today examine your heart, maybe recently you have taken God’s love for granted and used it to justify your disobedience, or maybe you need to evaluate why you obey. These are situations which we might find ourselves in at different stages but never forget to come back to the truth that God’s ways bring freedom, they enable us to live life to the full whilst faithfully serving Him.