As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

I’m a rule follower. When engaging in games of any sort, I need the rules. Understanding boundaries of fair play is essential. Cheating feels empty if I win by means other than fair. The same is true with my vocation. There are rules to getting things done, participating on teams, and generally moving forward with technology and the user experience. And this mindset can be found within our relationship with God. I know, for me, I’ve had to reconsider my own relationship with God in light of this truth.

This mindset is demonstrated in John 9. Jesus and the disciples are walking along and see a blind man. The disciples’ question reveals their own relationship. Then, as now, rules were given as a guide to being under God, with good things happening to those who followed them. They looked at this man, blind from birth, and wondered what their parents did wrong. Jesus looked at the life-long blindness as an opportunity to bring the Kingdom into the present. Jesus didn’t see this man as being the result of his parents breaking some arbitrary rule, but someone he could be with.

The relationship God desires with us is one of being with us. The relationship God desires mirrors the experience between God and his human creation in the Garden. While the Scriptures can be seen as something of a rule-book (“follow this rule”) outlining blessings (“…and God will do this”), the underlying point is that love drives it all. God loves us. Once again, God loves us. There’s not a rule listed anywhere making God love us more, or less. Knowing this, our love for God compels us to encounter him, going through life with him.

My wife and I are friends with a converted Muslim. Their story is very compelling, and I listen with rapt attention. As they tell their story, a pivotal moment in their moving to Christ was the statement found in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” In our friend’s culture, sharing a meal in someone’s home makes you family. Jesus saying “open your door and I’ll eat with you, wanting to be with you as family” (emphasis and comments mine), draws tears to my eyes and thankfulness in my soul. Jesus wants to be with us. Again, Jesus wants to be with us! As you go through the week, and the rest of your life, keep this verse in your heart. As temptations come to engage in living under some set of rules hoping for God’s love and blessing, remember this verse, and walk with Jesus.

By Rich Obrecht

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