Rules and Routines?

Written by: Kelsey Dougherty

As a teacher for many years, one of the first things I did in my classroom was establish the rules and routines. It was a routine that I loved because I am a rule follower myself. If I know there is a rule, I am comfortable because I know what is deemed right and wrong.  
 
This week in The Chosen series, we learned about Nicodemus from Pastor Peter.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a smart man.   He was filled with great knowledge.  He lived his life in the way that was outlined for him to live in his role as a Pharisee.  He followed the rules.  Yet, something was missing.  He observed that Jesus was teaching, and miracles were occurring, and they were outside of the rules that he had been abiding by.    
 
What I find so interesting about Nicodemus, is that he didn’t get mad that Jesus was breaking rules.  Instead, he recognized that the acts of Jesus were a thing of God and he humbled himself to find answers.  He buried his pride and asked questions. “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.  (John 3:9)
 
I admire this boldness.  He put himself in a vulnerable position.  He lowered himself to seek answers.  This can be hard to do.  Amazingly, Jesus spent time talking to Nicodemus and answering his question.  He met with him in the guise of night to listen to him and to teach him.
 
If Jesus was willing to risk being killed in the night to meet with Nicodemus, don’t you think he surely would want to hear us ask our own questions. Jesus doesn’t want us to abandon all rules as he encourages us to submit ourselves to authority above us. Yet, Jesus doesn’t just want us to follow the rules.  He wants us to follow HIM.  He wants us to seek HIM.  He wants us to come to HIM with our questions.  
 
When Pastor Peter stated in his sermon Sunday, “God is more interested in who you are than what you do.”   At first, I had a moment of protest.  I wanted to say, “Well yeah, but you must do all the things anyway, it is what you are supposed to do.”  Then he repeated it.  “God is more interested in WHO you are than WHAT you do.”  It took me a second to allow that to sink in, that God cares about my heart and where my actions are pouring from, not my actions because I am following the rules.
 
It may not be on a rooftop at night, but you can speak directly to Jesus.  Open his word and let it wash over your heart.  Let his word cleanse you, let his voice be the one that you hear above the voice inside that tells you that you are not good enough.  Let your heartbeat for His people and allow Him to guide your steps.    Follow Jesus, not rules.  Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27.

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