I didn't cuss.

I didn't drink.

I didn’t do drugs.

I didn’t sleep around

In addition to all of the bad things I didn't do, I even did a few good things.

I read my Bible on occasion.

I went to church most Sundays,

I played guitar in the praise band.

My wife and I led a small group in our home every week.

For years, this is why I thought of myself as being a devout Christian and why many others probably believed the same. But when I began to learn how true followers of Jesus are supposed to live, I realized it was about so much more than this checkbox style of Christianity I had grown so used to and so comfortable with. 

I began to see God doesn't want us cautiously avoiding sin or merely playing the game of religion. He doesn't want us working to earn His favor. We are called to rest and trust in what Jesus has already done for our salvation, and to let the same power that saves us give us the strength to live for him today.

The duties that I had fulfilled in the past because I had to or because it was what Christians were supposed to do were no longer a joyless task or simply a way to earn God's approval. These good deeds were no longer just a means to get what I wanted or to earn what I felt like I deserved.

It was no longer about checking off the correct boxes or doing things because I felt like I had to. I began joyfully and willfully choosing to do all that I can for Jesus because I started to understand all he’d done for me.