The Written Code

  • Nov. 24, 2006
  • #6410

Joni shares how she once viewed Christianity as a set of rules, but now follows out of devotion to her Savior.

When I was young and first learning about Christianity, I had the impression it was basically a long list of: do this, don't do that, say this and not that, go here, not here. Really, that's what I thought being a Christian basically was. It seemed like one long list of moral do's and don'ts; a burdensome litany of rules and regulations. And I tell you what! Those rules did nothing but arouse in me a fiendish desire to break them, just for the sake of, well, for the sake of breaking them, I guess!

Little did I realize back then that I was a walking example of Romans 7:5. Really I was! I was the best illustration around because it says in that verse, "For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death." 

That was me! Put off falsehood. Avoid all appearances of evil. Forgive seventy times seven. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth. Get rid of bitterness. But the harder I tried to obey these things, the more times I disobeyed. I seemed to have no power when it came to the law, the written code. I suppose that, no, I take that back, I know it was because the law was my focus. The written code was the main thing. 

But, oh difference when I made the Christ of Christianity the main thing. What a difference Jesus made in my life when I embraced Him as Lord and Savior. In fact, I became a walking example of Romans 7:6 where it says, "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that (now get this) so that we can serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way." The Spirit of Christ – that's the key. He has the power. And He is the main thing to focus on, or I should say, the main person to focus on. 

Because now I serve Jesus; I do not serve a list of rules. I don't try hard now to obey the written code, or the law. No, if I try hard at anything, I strive to obey Jesus and not for the sake of obedience alone, but it's for the sake of my Savior. Putting off falsehood, forgiving seventy times seven, getting rid of bitterness or avoiding all appearances of evil, those things are a way of serving Him. We follow Jesus; we don't follow a list. We move in the Spirit, we don't walk in the flesh according to the law. We obey, not because we feel pressured to by a bunch of rules, but because we are moved and inspired and encouraged by love and devotion for our Lord. 

Friend, if you see obedience as a dry duty, it will quickly become a dry duty. Ah! But when we concentrate on Jesus rather than the law, we'll end up obeying the same rules, but we'll do it out of joy and out of fervent service and heartfelt thanksgiving to God. Try it and you will for sure; end up being a walking illustration of what a true Christian is all about.

© Joni and Friends

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