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Let Me Count the Ways

I have tried Christianity many ways over the years.

I tried living a split life, with God being in only the parts of my life that I felt comfortable with. Then lived my own life separate. I had my Christian friends and my other friends. I was a different person depending on who I hung out with.

I tried turning my back on God and living my life completely apart from Him.

I tried the legalistic route. Religion became a checklist of to-dos and not to-dos. Go to church, read the bible, pray, go to bible study. Don't drink, don't cuss, don't hang out with certain kinds of people. 

I tried doing the "right" things so that God would bless me. I looked for something in return when I did something for God. "God you want me to tithe? Sure, as long as you bless me in return."

But I never found the true peace and joy that the Bible claimed I should get. I still felt like I was missing something. 

It wasn't until I began to form an actual relationship with Christ that I found that peace and joy. I still had the lists of dos and don'ts, but instead of it being a checklist that had to be accomplished, it became a tool to know God more fully. 

I realized that it is more about love than obligation. I do what I'm told in the Bible not because I have to, but because I want to. I know that it pleases God. Not that I could ever do anything to earn my way to heaven, Christ already paved that road for me. 

I love Him, because He first loved me. 1 John 4:19

He continually shows me His love, and I want to show my love in return. So I try to do all the "Christian" things. But it's no longer a requirement or a chore, it's an expression of my love and gratitude. 

So I've come to realize, it's not about what I do, or the way that I try to be a Christian. It's about the relationship. It's about knowing God on a personal level, rather than as something distant and as someone I have to work to please. 

The relationship changes everything.

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