How far should a church go to keep itself pure? The 17th-century Puritans believed legislating morality was the key to maintaining a pure church, so they restricted their members from celebrating Christmas, using musical instruments in worship services, engaging in Saturday-night festivities, and getting involved in many secular entertainments.
I believe a church should set standards for the conduct of its members in accordance with the Word of God. However, these standards must only be seen as necessary means to keep the church pure, rather than attempts at fostering spirituality. A church should enforce its guidelines with the understanding that a person may outwardly comply, while at the same time cherish rebellion in his heart. This is where the legislation of morality breaks down in its effect. True spirituality is a matter of the heart.
If we want to enjoy communication and communion with Christ, the key is not in how, but where we walk in relation to Him. That means our times of devotion and prayer shouldn’t be confined to the ticking of a stopwatch. We shouldn’t simply be going through the motions when we worship at church. This produces a casual, distant relationship with Christ. Vibrancy and radiance in our spiritual lives will only come when we invest time in the pursuit of Christ. This is where He longs to meet, teach, encourage, and renew us, stoking our spiritual flames.
My friend, you need not burden yourself with a list of rules to attain spirituality. You can experience it today as you draw near to your Savior. Liberty and an abundant life are yours for the taking. Christ will not put you back in bondage, because you are free indeed.
The glory of the gospel is, not that it destroys the law, but that it makes it cease to be a bondage; not that it gives us freedom from it, but in it; and the notion of the gospel which I have been describing as cold and narrow is, not that of supposing Christianity a law, but a supposing it to be scarcely more than a law, and thus leaving us where it found us. — John Henry Newman
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.