OUTBACK RELIGION

If you want a good steak and baked potato, Outback Steakhouse, is a pretty good choice. By now, we all have heard their advertisements on the radio or television. The announcer, in his Australian brogue, says, “Outback Steakhouse. No rules. Just right.”

That sounds great, doesn’t it? There is some appeal to a place where there aren’t any rules or restrictions and no matter what, everything turns out all right. One day it dawned on me that many people have “Outback Religion”. When it comes to their relationship with God they want it to be “No rules. Just right.” They want to be able to come to God on their own terms and yet have Him welcome them just the same.

More and more it seems we find people who find comforting the thought of having a meaningful relationship with God, but who are unwilling to follow the rules. I suppose it has always been so that many wanted God on their terms, but it has always been true that Jehovah has never allowed man to call the shots or make the rules. Either we come to Him as He wills or we don’t come at all.

When I claim a relationship with God but I want to keep my bad habits, and ungodly practices, and sinful relationships, then I am looking for “Outback Religion”. But God does have “rules” and here are three things to remember about them.

1. The “rules” are God’s. The natural tendency is to “kill the messenger”, but we must realize that if one is speaking the truth, he is only a messenger of the will of God. Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). To be sure, making our own rules is a violation of God’s will (Revelation 22:19).

2. “The rules” are for our good. Ultimately, what God requires of us is in our best interest. Throughout the centuries of His dealing with mankind, God has never forbidden something good for man nor has He required something harmful. As a matter of fact, even under Old Testament “rules”, if we carefully study His requirements, there is an additional side to the fact of God’s just pointing out what was sinful. We find, and they would have had, too, a wonderful assurance: His “rules” were meant to provide, protect and preserve! Truly, a wonderful, loving and caring God through the ages!

3. “The rules” will judge us. Whether we live by them or not we will be eternally judged by the will of God. Jesus said, “There is a judge for the one who rejects Me, and does not accept My words: that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day” (John 12:48).

When we submit ourselves wholly to living by the will of God, “He purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7-9). Or, we might say that when we live by God’s rules, He makes us “Just Right”!

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