Followers of Jesus are aware that the separation between God and man no longer exists for those who believe in him. The curtain that once separated us from God was torn when Jesus died on Calvary and we are the direct beneficiaries. Jesus, the great reconciler, paid all of our debts and only asks that we believe in order to benefit. Followers understand that they have committed to a life that is aligned with what Jesus taught and how he lived. The implications of this may be much different that we suppose.
Some people picture Christians as self-loathing religious rule-followers. Some think that we live in a state of shame and guilt subjected to oppressive rules and regulations of a controlling church. Some churchgoers have an equally distorted image of what it means to follow Christ believing that merely repeating a particular prayer, kneeling before an altar, or robotically following a set of rules (Jesus called this last group "whitewashed tombs") will lead to a fulfilled life with Christ. Unfortunately, disappointment follows this approach when their spiritual walk is short-lived and empty. They find that a formulaic approach to God is a dead-end road leaving them further from God rather than closer.
Where true belief is found, the disciple approaches God in a manner that can be somewhat similar to other relationships in their lives. A follower feels compelled to learn as much as possible about the incredible one with whom we started this new relationship. The more we understand Him, the more we grow to appreciate how truly magnificent God is. The more we appreciate Him, the closer we grow in our relationship with him. We also see that while we can never fully understand God, we are called to trust him. To trust in the unseen and to believe his promises. This is where our faith lies.
I believe that one of the main reasons that God created human freewill was so that faith and love would exist. He loves us enough to allow us to choose whether or not to follow him. So, while our broken world is full of hurt, love does exist and it carries the most incredible and overwhelming power. True love manifests itself in us in ways that can be quite surprising. Who among us hasn't been surprised by what people are willing to sacrifice for someone for whom they have deep adoring affection? Jesus said that those who truly believe in him will lose their life for his sake; they place his interests before their own. We end up seeking to glorify his name in how we live. Paul called this "being a living sacrifice"
Followers get joy from following Jesus. They pray by speaking and listening to him, study the Bible to learn more of him, and observe his works in their lives in order to better understand him. They desire to please him in all that they do - not because they have to but because they wish to offer themselves as living sacrifices to the everlasting God. They trust what he says and follow him because they know him. They even pray that he will strengthen their desire to live in a manner that brings glory to him and not to themselves. This is massively different than being a religious rule-follower isn't it? Regimented rule-following is founded in self-interest, staying out of trouble, and appearances. It is a sham. I am most happy when my children do good because they feel self-compelled rather than because they have been told to do so. I imagine God feels the same about me.