Following Rules Out Of Fear

John 5:9-15 (NIV)

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”

12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

When we believe that our religious rules are more important than people, we are truly far from the heart of Jesus. The religious leaders of the Jews were quick to point out to the man who had been healed that he was breaking their rules. They had interpreted the law of resting on the Sabbath to include carrying one’s mat. As though God would strike this man down for carrying his mat! Little did they know that it was God who had actually told him to do it.

Our desire for rules to follow comes from a place of fear. What if I make God mad? What if God won’t love me anymore? What if God won’t let me go to Heaven? Yet the Bible tells us that perfect love (which God has for us) drives out fear. What are we so afraid of when it comes to God and His love for us? God desires that no one should perish and that all should come to a knowledge of the Truth. If we really believe that God is not out to “get us” (except to get us into Heaven), then we don’t have to be terrified of Him. We don’t have to fearfully follow rules, but instead we are free to enjoy a loving relationship with Him.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I thank You for loving me. I want to live a life that pleases You. I want to live in a loving relationship with You. Drive out the fear in my heart so that I will know that I am free. I love You and thank You in Jesus’ name, amen.


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