Ten years ago I realized I could drink booze AND love Jesus and only the Baptists would condemn me.

Yesterday there was a TenYearsAgo meme going around twitter, and it got me thinking.

During the late nineties, my Christian faith ceased being a religious set of rules to follow and became a relationship with Jesus Christ. This meant I could finally enjoy certain freedoms in this life such as rated R movies, really great music, and vodka.

My eyes were opened to all the extra rules I’d been following that I thought made me a better Christian. I thought if I listened to a certain kind of music, or attended prayer meetings before work every morning, or was only friends with other Christians that Jesus would love me more.

As it turns out, nothing I do or say will make Jesus love me more. He just loves me.

A young man once addressed this issue with Jesus in the book of Matthew:

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:35-40, ESV).

I’m called to love God first, above all other things, and then I’m to love my neighbor second. Out of these two commands flow all the other answers to life.

For instance, if I need to drink all day long to cope with life, then I’m loving booze more than Jesus. If I’m flaunting my ability to enjoy a drink around my friend who struggles with a drinking problem, then I’m not loving my neighbor.

Freedoms are freedoms, not rights.

I’m thankful to Jesus for using this last decade to prune the unnecessary laws from my faith and graft me in to a new life of faith.

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