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Jesus-Centered: Why all the "shoulds"?

Why All the Shoulds?

"It's wrong to should people into a love relationship, and it's worse than wrong--actually, heretical--to should people into a love relationship with Jesus." --Rick Lawrence, The Jesus-Centered Life

Encountered any finger-pointing lately? Like, say, an article or a Facebook post or a sermon that's full of remarks about what you should do? How about what you should do as a Christian?

  • you should read your Bible everyday
  • you should attend church weekly
  • you should listen to this type of music, watch these types of shows, buy things at these stores, and believe these things...

"Shoulds"--even well-meaning ones--aren't Jesus' style

Rick reminds us in this video that Jesus invites us into a relationship with him that provides relief and rest, not work. Even well-meaning lists of advice and to-do's can heap guilt and shame where there could be curiosity and welcome instead. But rather than follow orders, Jesus would prefer for us to follow our heart. True, loving relationships always work better that way.

Try this 5-minute idea:

Get alone for a few minutes and think about the habit and things you're doing in your life (regarding your relationship with Jesus or elsewhere) because you feel like you should be doing them. Make a note of them, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you any practices that he's inviting you to let go of. See what he says.

For more ideas like this, plus other Jesus-centered thoughts and ideas, download a free sample chapter of The Jesus-Centered Life.


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Showing 4 comments
  • Sue

    Jesus is about I get to and I want to not I have to,
    Grace is Jesus. Freedom to live loved by Jesus and let His love live through me.
    Not should, or have to, a law which stifles freedom to choose love.
    I choose Jesus. And let him love me to truth, getting to know Him.

  • janet

    We had a disagreement about going to church, I am close to Jesus in so many ways, the Bible, my heart, my love, my hope, faith and trust in him. I read about him on the inter- net, books verses in bible and preacher on tv’s God station. I live and pray with him through the day and church I enjoy too but its so far over an hour the one he wants to go too. And its hard for me to get up early to get there and its such a long ride which my back because of the pain I have. We also had our pastor’s cd’ s he gives of his service so we can listen to them. We try to get to Bible studies at least once a month which is also a long distant. I even offered to go to another church closer but he does not want to go to any other church. I feel bad about not wanting to go and I would love too but he feels I don’t make that a priority. I feel guilty, should I be?

    • Becky Hodges

      Janet- anything that is burying you in shame, guilt and worry isn’t from Jesus. I also don’t go to church regularly, I have lot’s of Christian community outside of the church and like you I am very proactive about my faith development. What I do hear is that your husband would like to spend more time with you at church, I think that’s sweet. Why don’t you pray about how often you think you can commit to it and let your husband know and then set yourself completely free after that. We talk a lot about the “should” in life and Jesus’ mission to set captives free on our podcast, why don’t you listen along. Maybe there’s an episode you and your husband could listen to together and then talk about it.

  • thomas shenberger

    I’m a screw up, I guess we all our!
    But, for me , going to Mass each Sunday is one of my greatest pleasures and receiving JESUS at Communion is the HIGHLIGHT!!!
    It wasn’t always like this, but having a daily prayer life where I have a conversation throughout my day with Jesus is what makes possible my personal relationship with Him……and in this conversation I listen more than I speak.
    “Lord what do you want me to do”? This is one of my usual questions, and then I just listen!
    Stay Strong-Love More-Judge Less. 🙏

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