Galatians 2:19 You and I are Jews by birth, not 'sinners' like the gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law."
There were some Jew who believe that if they followed the letter of the law that they were made right by following the law. They could be mean people in so many ways... they would often use the law as an excuse not to do the very things they needed to do. Their heart was not about loving God but about saving themselves while they acted like they wanted to act.
What I seemed to do with the "rules" in the Bible was to use them to be "good enough" for God to love me. Then I would mess up and feel so unlovable that I would go for a while without even trying. Then I would get convicted again and start the process over again. I never felt worthy of God's love, because I never felt like I could be "good enough."
Through reading and studying God's word I have learned that what I have to do is love God, because I love God... when you get to know God, really know God, He is so easy to love!... God already loves me, no matter what I have done!! There is nothing I could do to be made right with God but to love Jesus and to love Him. Once I understood that it got easier and easier to do what God ask me to do. When I keep my eye on God I want to please Him. Because He loves me so much I want to be good.. Because I love Him so much I want to show Him I love Him by doing what He ask me to do. When I mess up, I don't feel unlovable! God loves me always... so I ask forgiveness, think about how and why I messed up and I move forward able to do better. God's love keeps me from giving up. When I depended on me I was giving up all the time... now that I depend on God I never give up, because I know that God never gives up on me. I keep trying... God's love makes me able to be a better person.
I had it all backward...I thought that if I was good enough God would love me. The fact is God always loves me no matter what... knowing that and loving God back along with His grace and along with knowing and understanding that Jesus' made a sacrifice for my sins, makes me able to be a better person. The more I know God, the more I love God. The more I love God the better I get at being good.