Mackenzie is in a boat, having a conversation with the Holy Spirit, portrayed as a woman:
“It feels like living out of relationship—you know, trusting and talking to you—is a bit more complicatd than just following rules”
“What rules are those, Mackenzie?”
“You know, all the things the Scriptures tell us we should do.”
“Okay...” she said with some hesitation. “And what might those be?”
“You know,” he answered sarcastically. “About doing good things and avoiding evil, being kind to the poor, reading your Bible, praying, and going to church. Things like that.”
“I see. And how is that working for you?”
He laughed. “Well. I've never done it very well. I have moments that aren't too bad, but there's always something I'm struggling with, or feeling guilty about. I just figured I needed to try harder, but I find it difficult to sustain that motivation.”
“Mackenzie!” she chided, her words flowing with affection. “The Bible doesn't teach you to follow rules. It is a picture of Jesus. While words may tell you what God is like and even what he may want from you, you cannot do any of it on your own. Life and living is in him and in no other. My goodness, you didn't think you could live the righteousness of God on you own, did you?”
“Well, I thought so, sorta...” he said sheepishly. “But you gotta admit, rules and priciples are simpler than relationships.”
“It is true that relationships are a whole lot messier than rules, but rules will never give you answers to the deep questions of the heart and they will never love you.”—The Shack, pages 199-200
So true. How many times have you been told that to be a good christian you have to do this and that. Did it ever work?
We try to live the righteousness of God on our own strength—and then we wonder why we fail? What else could we do? Only God can live the righteousness of God. And the best part is that he has promised that he will live it out in our lives! Now that is good news!