Rebellion is bad, right? In the sense that we are all born bent away from God toward sin, yes. But when God gets hold of us, changes us from the inside out, and sets an entirely new agenda for our lives, it is then time to become a radical and rebel against everything our old nature would have driven us to do and everything the culture pressures us to do.
This is especially true when we are tempted to live out the new life in the pattern and power of our old nature. In other words, when we reduce life to a list of rules and rituals rather than seeing it as an ongoing, life-giving relationship with our Creator, it’s time to rebel. Here are some rules you and I ought to start breaking today…
1. The Prayer Rule.
Wake up. Pray. Check it off the list.
If that’s your pattern, throw the list away! Tim Keller put it this way, “To fail to pray, then, is not to merely break some religious rule – it is a failure to meet God as God. It is a sin against His glory.”
Instead, pray because God is worthy of seeking, powerful to respond, and a delight to have as a close friend. Prayer isn’t a rule to keep, it’s a relationship waiting to blossom. Break the prayer rule. Start a praying relationship.
2. The Church Rule.
Dress up. Get to church. Smile no matter what transpired on the way. Check it off the list.
I don’t need another thing to do every week just because people expect me to do it. What I do need is community. I need fellowship. I need practical, biblical teaching. I need people to do life with and with whom to join in God’s mission together.
It’s entirely possible to enjoy gathering with God’s people. It can be rejuvenating and encouraging, especially when I decide to go with the ministry of encouraging others on the forefront of my mind. It’s also possible that the assembly of God’s people can be a place where we get real about our struggles together rather than mutually upholding a mere facade of outward, performance-based holiness.
Break the church rule. Start leaning into your forever family, wherever they gather each weekend.
3. The Bible Rule.
Read 3.5 chapters. Check it off the list.
It’s always sad when I take the most exciting story ever written and treat it as a mere classroom textbook.
Got through Leviticus again! I don’t remember any of it, but it’s DONE!
The Bible is the written record of God’s redemption of lost mankind from utter desolation to life and heaven through the blood of His sacrificed Son. It’s filled with adventure, with wild men and women doing crazy things for God, with people who blew it and recovered, with wisdom for every situation we’ll ever face. It’s a story of up’s and down’s and all around’s. We’re disheartened over defeat in the lives of its godly characters, then delighted in the victories that inevitably occur, culminating in a mysterious picture of the final, eternal destination of all who trust the Redeemer of the story.
It’s a living book. A life-giving book. A holy book. A God-breathed book. And it’s useful to make us everything God knows we can be in our new relationship with him.
Break the Bible rule. Don’t just read it. Lie asoak in it. Be drenched in the drama of redemption. Be changed by its challenges and shaped by its truth.
If you aren’t praying yet, start. If you don’t have a church to gather with that feeds your faith and causes you to flourish, find one. If you aren’t spending time daily in the Word, start afresh. But resist the temptation for these things, and dozens of others like them, to become the end, rather than the means to the end, which is more of God and more of his blessing.