Yet, this simple plan, Christ at the center, is sometimes not good enough for us. We have difficulty trusting that this is really the way, so we "add on" to our faith by creating systems of religion, patterns of worship, and rules of conduct. We hold on to these as though they were the gospel and we neglect Jesus.
We approach the gospel as though it was "Jesus + [system/pattern/rule]" when the gospel is really "Jesus+", as in, Jesus, and Jesus only.
Paul warned about this in Galatians, when he told the false teachers (those who were adding on to the gospel) that they would be under a curse if they persisted in teaching that faith was about Jesus + Law (Galatians 1:6-9).
If the gospel is focused on Jesus, then our Christian lives that flow out of the gospel should also be focused on Jesus.
Christianity is a lifestyle, not only a set of beliefs. When we reduce Christianity to a system of "correct" beliefs, we reduce our ability to grow in Christ because we neglect change in our lives. God desires our transformation that results in a renewed life. The "greatest command" is about love, for God and for others. Christianity is about how we live, not only what we know.
Christianity is a path that we follow, not a destination we have arrived at. When we make adherence to a pattern of worship central to our faith, we focus more on what we do for God to earn or keep our salvation rather than what God has done for us through and in his Son. As we continue to learn and grow, as the gospel becomes a larger part of who we are, we keep walking the path of life laid out for us by God.
Christianity is a journey of growth in Christ, not a one-time attainment of enlightenment. When we create rules of conduct that Christians must abide by, we run the risk of over-emphasizing what we do. The gospel is always about Jesus' work for us, not our work for him. We continue to grow in Christ as our minds and lives are transformed by God's grace.
In our Christian lives, let us dwell on the gospel, grow in grace, and follow Christ. Keep your focus on him and always walk after him.