What is the difference between a wine aficionado and an alcoholic? They do the same thing but what is happening in their heart is very different. The difference is joy. The aficionado wants to feel and experience joy. The alcoholic does not want to feel or experience his sadness. One is embracing and enjoying the other is numbing and running.
I think it is the same in the faith journey. There are people who are embracing life and loving out of the joy in their hearts. Then there are others that have mapped out all the things they “should” be doing because it is numbing in a way. To not have to really love and live in the freedom that Jesus has called them into. Bought by Him and prepared through Him. So we can do what is “expected” and disconnect from the joy of living out who God made us to be. We follow a form of religion looking for security but cannot find peace because God is not there.
Like Timothy Keller talks about, we can run from God in our legalism–by keeping “the rules”. Doing this we can effectively numb ourselves to Him and His presence and the leading of His Spirit–His JOY!
It can be scary to step into the works and life He has created for you. It seems easier to print the list and follow the culture’s/your parents’/church-ianity’s directions. The problem is you will find no peace or true happiness there because you are not allowing God to write your story.
“Don’t get drunk on wine, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Don’t go numb or disconnect by getting drunk on rules, slaving away at Christianity. Get filled with the Spirit and experience God and what He has for you. The difference in your life will be joy.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)