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Today’s Truth

“Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live” (Galatians 1:4 NLT).

Friend to Friend

For many years, I treated my faith like I was cooking dinner in the kitchen. Here’s what my Christian life recipe looked like for many years:

1 c. weekly church attendance

1 c. daily Bible study

1 c. volunteering (or 2 c. if pressured to do more)

1 c. Bible study group (sometimes a seasonal ingredient)

1 c. offering (or a dash if money is tight)

1 c. prayer (add more if you gossip, lie or occasionally swear)

1 c. good intentions

Directions: Mix together each week on your calendar. Substitute guilt for any missing ingredients. Pour generous amounts of worship music over the top to cover for anything that might be outdated or less than fresh. Finally, serve with a Sunday smile.

For years, I felt confident about my recipe of good Christian rules. However, in those seasons when my kids didn’t sleep at night or when I was depressed and didn’t feel like praying, my failure at executing my recipe made me feel like a “bad Christian.” At times, I feared that God was disappointed with me.

Have you ever felt like there’s a long list of rules you have to follow in order to be a “good Christian”? Perhaps you feel like you’re one mistake or sin away from God sending you a big “whammy.” Maybe you’ve followed your recipe for years and you’re simply tired of feeling like you have to keep measuring up.

The only way to straighten ourselves out is to go back and start at the core of our faith: The Gospel. Even if we’ve heard the gospel 1,000 times in our lives, we need to hear it 1,000 times more, because the gospel changes everything about our lives every single day!

In his letter to the Galatian church, the Apostle Paul begins at square one explaining the gospel, proving a concise summary at the beginning of his letter:

“Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live” (Galatians 1:4 NLT).

Every day, the gospel is the evidence to us that God wants more FOR us than FROM us. The gospel is based on God’s perfect promises, never our performance.

If you pressure yourself to do more for God, then what would it look like for you to learn how to receive from Him? Consider your personal Christian recipe card. What parts of your Christianity are driven by fear or guilt?

The good news is that you can rip up that recipe card and find freedom from the fear that God wants you to follow rules for Him. But how? The key to abandoning our Christian recipe is learning how to recognize, receive and respond to where God is working in us. When we learn how to do this, then our desire to pray or engage in Bible study flows from love rather than fear or obligation. This is what it means for us to experience freedom in Christ or a life free from fear and full of God’s joy and purpose!

I sense God saying this to me and to you: I know that you want to please Me. Yet, trying to follow the rules is breaking your heart. My daughter, you can stop trying so hard. You don’t need to stress yourself out trying to live the perfect Christian life. Accepting salvation through Christ is enough. I love you.

Are there Christian rules that you need to let go of following? Spend time today reflecting on how God’s Spirit is working in your life. Don’t forget, even when you may not feel like God is working in your life, you can be confident that He is!

Let’s Pray

God, thank You for the power of Your Holy Spirit at work within me. Thank You for the life that the Spirit brings to me. Remind me following religious rules are not what will satisfy my soul, but being in relationship with You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

When do you worry that you are disappointing God?

Do you need to let go of trying so hard to do more for God and discover what it means to receive from God?

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s content is from Barb’s new Bible study, Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ. This six-week Bible study on the book of Galatians teaches you how to find freedom from following religious rules and any fear of not being enough for God. Barb’s study includes six powerful Freedom Principles and application exercises that equip you to break free from fear and experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for your life.

© 2021 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.

10 Responses to “Tearing Up My “Good” Christian Recipe Card”

  1. Rhonda Jefcoat says:

    I so needed this devotion this morning. My recipe card was very similar and days I didn’t complete it I mentally would beat myself up and feel as if God was so disappointed in me, or that if I didn’t ‘make it up’ I would lose my place in heaven.

    The reminder (because I know it subconsciously) that my thinking is flawed and that God loves me even if I fall asleep at night mid-prayer, or don’t get to complete my morning devotion – was so needed!

    In God’s Love, –

    • Barb Roose says:

      Speak the truth, Rhonda! So beautifully said. Thank you for sharing your story with our Girlfriends community. You know that I can relate – and I’m certain that many, many women can relate as well.

  2. Carol says:

    Thank you, and Amen, Barb!
    The “christian recipe card” illustration was perfect!
    I’ve been trying to forgive myself, to be more like Jesus and less like me.
    I’m working on things that steal my time from a relationship with Him; not just me proclaiming a faith I practice, but a real relationship.
    I want to trust in the knowledge of Hebrews 7: 24-25, that Jesus is our appointed High Priest. He continues to pray for us, in His “place of honor in heaven”.
    Blessings in your continuing helpful devotional postings.

    • Barb Roose says:

      Carol, thank you for stopping by GiG today and sharing your comment as well as your kind words. Thank you for sharing how God is working in your life with us today.

  3. Maura McCoy says:

    Oh WOW! “God wants more FOR us than FROM us.” When I read that, it smacked me right between the eyes 🙂 I had just written in my journal that I am too afraid to allow the Holy Spirit to enable me to use my gifts. It’s like I just wait for God to smack me between the eyes and drag me out of my comfort zone. But this reminds me that all God REALLY wants is to love me and be in relationship with me. The rest will come, in His good time and in His perfect way!

    Thank you!

    • Barb Roose says:

      Maura, thank you for sharing your divine “ah-ha” moment with us today. I know that God will use your comment to be an encouragement to other women who can relate to your story.

  4. Donna Jones says:

    This…Wow…I mean drop the mic!! Thank you for allowing God to use you to pen words of healing and deliverance! This will definitely be shared (with both my sisters and my brothers in Christ).

    • Barb Roose says:

      Hi Donna! Thanks for stopping by Girlfriends in God today. I’m so glad that God used today’s devotional to speak His truth and freedom in your heart and life. Praise God!

  5. Jamillie says:

    Good morning! God certainly has a way of reminding me just what I needed to hear today. From my own expectations and feeling like I never measure up quite honestly I am exhausted. Praise for who He is and this was literally like a breath of fresh of air and that God just loves me for who I am and isn’t disappointed in me. He lovingly calls me His and will change my heart and perspective as only He can. God bless you. 🙂 Jeremiah 29:11

  6. Veda says:

    Dear Barb,
    I thank you also for this jewel of wisdom you have shared. I had a cardiac arrest resulting in a traumatic brain injury back in December, 2005. Like Maura, I also was wowed by how God wants more for us than from us. I felt so blessed. I am a shut-in not being able to drive anymore but the LORD has not allowed me to wallow in a well of depression. Thank You Lord!😀

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8