How in the world do I follow those Bible rules?
By Jessica Brodie
I’m a big rule-follower, but biblical obedience has always been tough for me to understand—not because I don’t want to be a good daughter of God and heed His ways and wishes, but because I didn’t know what rules I was supposed to be following.
The Ten Commandments were a no-brainer. I knew enough to follow those rules: have only one God, remember the Sabbath, honor my parents and steer clear of lying, cheating, stealing, envy, and killing.
But what about the rest? Jesus, as well as the prophets and apostles, spent a lot of time urging people to follow God’s Law. Only I couldn’t exactly figure out what God’s Law entailed—did they just mean the Ten Commandments? Surely there was more than that.
It took intentionally and strategically sitting down and reading the Bible from start to finish for me to grasp the full picture. And recently, as I reread the Book of Matthew, I realized Jesus did us all a service and provided the “Cliff’s Notes” version of God’s Law as he traveled across Galilee, teaching the large crowds of people who followed him.
Matthew 5-7 lays it out in full. While the book is written much more eloquently than what I’m about to list, here I offer a quick-and-dirty short list of Jesus’s instructions for life:
- Rely on God. The more you rely on Him, the closer you draw to Him, and therefore the closer you are to Heaven and your ultimate reward.
- Some ways to increase your reliance on God include hunger, humility, grief, cultivating a pure heart, working for peace, showing mercy, and putting yourself at risk of being harassed or persecuted for your faith.
- Embrace your God light.
- Share God’s light with others so they can see God, too.
- Obey all of these commands and don’t discount a single one, and teach others to do the same.
- Don’t murder, steal, or commit adultery—but also understand that evils thoughts are just as bad as evil actions. Lustful thoughts are the same as actually committing adultery. Anger at your brother is the same as killing your brother.
- Don’t make a solemn pledge, whether by God or the earth or the city or yourself. That extravagance is from the evil one. Let your word be good enough: a simple yes or no will suffice.
- Give whatever someone asks of you. Don’t deny.
- If someone strikes you or harms you, don’t retaliate or oppose them. Accept your oppression. Turn the other cheek.
- Love your friends and your enemies. Love all, just as God does.
- Don’t show off your faith, prayer, giving, or fasting. Keep it between you and God.
- Keep your prayers simple: lift God’s name, pledge to do His will, ask for help for today’s basic needs, ask for forgiveness, agree to forgive others, and ask for protection from temptation.
- Forgive others no matter what. (Otherwise, God won’t forgive you.)
- Stop collecting earthly treasures. You can’t serve God and wealth simultaneously.
- Instead, collect heavenly treasures.
- Do not worry. Only concern yourself with God’s Kingdom. He will take care of the rest.
- Don’t judge others (otherwise, God will judge you).
- Ask, seek and knock, and God will give to you.
- Treat others the same way you want people to treat you.
- Go in through the narrow God-gate, not the popular path.
- Watch out for false prophets (you’ll know them by their fruit; a good tree can’t produce bad fruit).
- How we act and what we do matters. God will only let you into Heaven if you do His will.
- Make all of this the foundation of your life.
Keep in mind: God wouldn’t have written an entire 93-book Bible if it were all that easily explainable. These super-simple basic instructions are just a start. If you’re not already doing so, I hope you’ll pray for the Holy Spirit to grant you understanding… and then that you undertake a full reading of God’s Word so you see completely what He requires of us.
And I pray that you, too, will adopt a life of obedience. We’ll make mistakes along the way. We’re not perfect. But if we try to follow His rules, then we’re on the right path.
What do you think? Comment below.