‘Christians don’t smoke, drink, or chew, or go with those who do.’
‘Oh, you can’t get to heaven in a mini skirt, ’cause God don’t like those girls that flirt.’
‘Real Christians don’t dance.’
For some reason, our culture often defines Christians by what they DO NOT or CAN NOT do. And I can see why, I guess. I mean, out of the 10 commandments, all but two (Honor your parents and Keep the Sabbath) seem to be ‘Thou Shalt Not’s.’
Christ said DO
But, we’re talking CHRISTianity, not JUDAISM here. And, Christ seemed to replace a ton of the DO NOT’s with lots and lots of DO’s. In fact, He summarized all the commandments into just two:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
Christ spent His ministry showing us the WAY, and His words and actions were filled, sometimes with restrictions but most often with overwhelming commands of what we SHOULD DO if we are to follow Him.
- Love God and Draw Near to Him
- Love your enemy
- Give to the needy
- Close the door, pray to your Father who is unseen
- Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven
- Seek first His kingdom and righteousness
- Ask, seek, knock
And these are just the first few chapters of Matthew. The Epistles, too, are full of DO statements–all about rejoicing and giving and encouraging and loving. Christ’s road is a road full of action, not just a road void of corruption.
Do Not, Do Not, Do Not
Too often, I focus only on destroying the EVIL in my heart:
- The jealousy
- The desire to control
- The anxiety
- The anger
- The impatience
- The greed
- The pride
The Only Way to Overcome Evil
And while Christ certainly desires this evil to be destroyed, His method does not seem to be one of grenades and bombs and scouring pads. Instead, His method seems to be light to DIFFUSE darkness and water to WASH dirt.
Christ’s call for us is to focus on the GOOD. His commands for DOing are so comprehensive and life altering that following Him on His path slowly destroys the EVIL of the DO NOTs.
If I awake with the thought of seeking God, if I walk through my day enjoying God and looking for ways to love others, if I spend my minutes working hard to pray, to give, to draw near, to show love…I will have very little time remaining for the Do Not’s.
Of course, none of this is possible without Christ within me. Without His Spirit, I will just be replacing one evil (perhaps greed) with another (perhaps pride). That’s why the most important ‘Good’ that I can do is to read and pray and seek to fall more in love with Him. Then, work with Him to bring this good to others throughout my days.
Have you had seasons of your life when you focused on the Do Not’s more than the Do’s? How have you seen the power of Good overcoming Evil in your own life?