1. Rules and Legalism
I’ve noticed the devil is constantly working to reduce my Christianity to rules - because if he does that, then that means the love is lost and he’s succeeded.
I’ve seen that I can feel pretty good about myself if I’m sticking to a disciplined schedule and doing all the outward Christian things I’m supposed to, not having any external sins – basically obeying the 10 commandments pretty well (similar to how the rich young ruler approached Jesus). I can judge my life saying to myself, "I’m walking pretty well with God right now" because of that. But that’s like saying the goal of a family is to eat healthy - not eating poison, to make it to school and work on time without getting into an accident, to be educated without going homeless. Those are all good things, but it has nothing to do with the goal! The goal of a family is love in the family! In the home, the goal is not, “don’t drink poison.” The goal is “love one another” – and the reason you don’t drink poison is so you can go on living and loving!
It’s the same goal in our life with God – a love life. So a religion without love is pointless.
The Pharisees had religion oozing out of their ears, but their hearts were totally dry toward God and toward everybody else. They had no mercy, no compassion, no love, no connection with God at all.
The whole point of all of this is love - for us to be able to share a love life with God and each other.