I have been re-reading books to which I was introduced years ago. They were written by people who were persecuted, imprisoned, excommunicated or executed for their teachings which were born out of their radical view of loving God. The books were written over 300 years ago and are held with great regard to this day, proven by the impact they've made on vast numbers of lives through the 3 centuries of their existence.
The authors, mostly from Roman Catholic history, lived during a time when the authorities of the church were incensed by those who would claim to have a living relationship with God; a relationship which was in contrast and outside of the form of religion these authorities clung to and fought for, even though their form of religion was void of the life and power of God.
Among these great authors are Michael Molinos, Brother Lawrence, Fenelon, Madame Jeanne Guyon. The common thread that is as pure as crystal and yet strong as steel is the communication of a relationship with Christ that is not dependant on works, and not motivated by a desire for God to work for them (miracles, answered prayers, etc.). Their passion was to be found in His presence every moment of every day that they might love Him with total abandon and, in so loving Him, becoming like Him and less like the sin nature that grieved His heart.
The church, at that time, was not much different from the Pharisaical traditions and laws that had been formulated to burden the people in Jesus' time. Outward conformity to rules was thought to be the solution to man's sinfulness. However, the Holy Spirit gave wisdom to those who abandoned themselves to Him and the experience of loving Him wholeheartedly brought about the victory over the sinful nature they longed to be free from.
Here is a quote from Madame Jeanne Guyon's book, "Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ". She quotes St. Augustine and in this short passage puts the whole of life and godliness in a nutshell.
"Only one thing is required - love.
St. Augustine said, 'Love, then do what you please."
For when you have learned to love, you will not even
desire to do those things that might offend the One you love."