Ps. 119:101

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word.

Legalism comes from fear of punishment, and is the basis of code-based religion: some times it even masquerades as Christianity. And fear is selfish, because we are worried about what bad thing might happen to us.

Discipline, however, is goal-centred and looks outward. In this scripture the writer is so in love with God that he doesn’t want anything to get in the way. He’s not so much concerned about himself, but just wants more of the source of life. It’s a positive (I do this and achieve a goal) rather than a negative (I must do this or else).

Any relationship worth having must have a certain amount of humility in it. And, for the purposes of definition, I’ll describe humility as a looking outside oneself, a love of the other. When you’re in love, you’re so preoccupied with the Lover that (at least in one sense) what you might get out of the deal is secondary.  Love expressed to the beloved is what’s behind your actions.

And this is what drives Christ’s love. It was for the love of His Bride He went to the cross – He was so excited at the concept of spending eternity with every one of us that He allowed Himself to be beaten, flogged, and crucified. We were His goal.

What a motivation for our own service to God! When we really think of all He did, can’t we take our minds off our own selfish agendas and just be captivated by Him, shaping our lives around the single goal of knowing Him more?

Is He a little religious compartment of our lives or Lord and Lover? Read Matthew 7:23 – He doesn’t so much ask us if we keep rules (remember it was the religious people who engineered His crucifixion) but whether we know Him. Our own actions should arise out of relationship with a real, living God rather than just being religious rules keepers. The ironic thing is that when we just focus on Him, our lives tend to keep all the rules and then some, but for the right reasons: from love, and not selfish fear.