Do you ever feel like life is too complicated? Or have you ever found yourself saying things like, "I just can't take this. It's all too much!"
In the world we live in today, it's easy to get to this point. And I've discovered that many times, we feel this way because we're not free to be who God created us to be and do what He's calling us to do.
Many people feel so pressured by the expectations of others that it causes them to be frustrated, miserable and confused about what they should do. But there is a way to live a simple, joy-filled, peaceful life, and the key is learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions or expectations of man.
The Trappings of Tradition
Traditions are a common part of our lives. They can be good, and not all traditions are wrong, but sometimes they can take the joy out of life.
Traditions can be defined as manmade rituals or ceremonies or a way of doing a certain thing; they are done repeatedly over a long period of time and are handed down from generation to generation. The problem occurs when we feel obligated to do them to be right with God or other people.
In Matthew 15:6 (AMP), Jesus said to the Pharisees, "For the sake of your traditions (the rules handed down by your forefathers), you have set aside the Word of God [depriving it of force and authority and making it of no effect]." Now, I think it's interesting to note here that while God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, by this time, religious people had taken those 10 and turned them into 2,000 rules and regulations. No wonder we need to hear about grace!
What we need to understand is that when traditions become laws, rules, obligations and expectations others put on us that we don't want to fulfill, then they lose real meaning and steal the joy from our lives. And if we're too religious, we won't be able to be led by the Holy Spirit and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him.
Learning to Be Free from Legalism
God's plan is for us to be free to be led by the Holy Spirit-in every part of our lives. Because if we're not led by the Holy Spirit, we'll get sucked up into what I call the "system" of doing what we think we are supposed to do based on people's expectations and requirements. In the process, we won't do what God has put in our hearts to do.
In my relationship with God,I've learned that if I follow a "formula" for how I spend my time with Him, then I'm just accomplishing a checklist of things I feel obligated to do to please Him. This makes my spiritual life more about doing what I need to do to fulfill an obligation than something meaningful.
I remember a time when God spoke to my heart and told me not to do anything for Him out of obligation. See, whatever we do during our daily time with God, it needs to mean something to us; otherwise we are being legalistic, and there is no life in religious traditions that we do based on obligation or what others expect.
Be Led &Follow Your Heart
It's so important for us to learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit and follow the desires God puts in our heart. Second Corinthians 3:6 (AMP) says, "The code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive." In other words, the letter of the law (or legalism) ministers death to us, but the Spirit makes us alive!
When I follow my heart, I'm not praying or reading the Bible to keep God happy with me-I'm doing it because I love spending time with Him and it has meaning for me. Sometimes I just sit still and enjoy God's presence. Other times I will intercede for someone or read a particular book that's on my heart. Once while I was exercising, I listened to a good message and spent time praying. My time with God is meaningful when my heart is in it. And I want to do whatever will lead me into the presence of God.
In the world, life is complicated. But I want to encourage you to seek the Lord with all of your heart, and do what He's calling you to do. Enjoy your relationship with Him and discover more about who you are in Christ. You will have peace and joy as you are simply led by the Holy Spirit.