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Compliance or Obedience?
by Steve McVey

Christianity is not a call to live by principles or to live for Jesus. To build our lives around biblical principles sounds admirable, but it is a subtle form of legalism. Of course there is instruction in the New Testament about how we are to live. But these instructions are not religious laws for us to follow. They are descriptions of the many ways that Christ can live His life through us as we depend on Him. New Testament Christianity is not grounded in what we do, but in what He has already done. The Bible teaches that the One who has begun the work in us will be the One to complete it. Paul said, "Faithful is He who calls you, AND HE WILL BRING IT TO PASS" (1 Thessalonians 5:24, emphasis added). The Bible is clear: Jesus will do it, not us.

There is indeed a blessing to be enjoyed as we obey the Lord, but blessings are not experienced by simply doing what God says. Simply doing what God says has never brought joy to anybody's life. The source of joy is Jesus, not mere compliance to the Bible's commands.

Many people struggle with the question, "Why am I not fulfilled when I'm doing all the things that I believe God wants me to do?" It's because God's purpose is not that we should focus on doing the right things. Rather, he wants us to focus on Him. Obedience occurs as we trust Jesus within us to fulfill the desires of His Father through us. As Jesus does that, we will fulfill the commands of the Scripture. On the other hand, when we simply do what the Bible instructs, that is not godly obedience. It is nothing more than compliance.

taken from Grace Rules by Steve McVey.