Knowing the Dos and Don'ts of the Christian Life

It has been pointed out that the Christian faith isn';t really a religion or a list of dos and don';ts. Instead it is a relationship — a personal, living, growing relationship — with the living God that we enter into through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, too many people view the Bible as a harsh book that does nothing but put limitations on people, that just tells them what they can and can';t do. But knowing that our faith is based in a personal relationship, we also need to understand that this relationship — like any we';d have on earth — requires nurturing, care, and work to help it grow and thrive. Another way to put that is to say that there are things we need to do as well as things we need to avoid if we want to fully enjoy a faith-centered, growing relationship with God.

When you are looking through your Bible to find guidelines for living, use your concordance to look for key verbs (action words, such as give, love, pray) or adjectives (descriptive words, such as holy, righteous, blessed) and it will lead you to some good dos and don';ts of the Christian life as they appear in the Bible.

Yes, that means there are things we should do and things we shouldn';t do if we want our relationship with God to continue growing. And the Bible contains many warnings, commands, and bits of wisdom telling us what we should do and what we shouldn';t, what we can do and what we can';t.

For example, some of the dos the Bible tells us to follow are to …

  • be filled with the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18)

  • remain in — or stick close to — Christ (John 15:1–11)

  • tell others the message of salvation through Jesus (Matthew 28:18– 20, Mark 16:15)

  • rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4)

  • pray about everything (Philippians 4:6)

  • resist the devil (James 4:7)

    And, for example, the Bible says, don';t

  • do good expecting your reward here on earth (Matthew 6:1–4)

  • hang on to anger and bitterness (Matthew 5:22–23)

  • steal (Leviticus 19:11, Ephesians 4:28)

  • forget to spend time in fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 10:25)

  • engage in drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18)

  • While the Bible contains a lot of instructions for living the Christian life — including some dos and don';ts — it also gives the rewards for doing what we should and the consequences for doing what we shouldn';t. God has promised both blessings and protection for those who follow Him in obedience, for those who read what the Bible says and then act on it. (See James 1:22–25.)

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