What rules did you have while growing up? Here’s a sampling from my memory lane…
- Be home by 11:00 P.M.
- No theatre attendance (“that’s where people sit in the back and behave inappropriately”).
- No card playing.
- No dancing.
- No alcohol.
The list went on, flushing everything that looked like fun. And so I picked the ones I wanted to obey and rationalized my way through the rest…
- Be home by 11:00 unless I don’t feel like it and I’m willing to pay the consequences.
- No theatre attendance unless I want to see the featured movie.
- No card playing unless I’m a guest at someone’s house where cards are played.
- No dancing – well, I stuck to that one because I felt ‘way too self-conscious on the dance floor.
- No alcohol – that one stuck, too. One whiff of an open bottle dissolved any temptation I may have had to drink the stuff.
Some rules were for my safety and well-being. Others simply helped our schedule at home run more smoothly and changed with circumstances and seasons. Some rules bugged me. Others were tolerable. Some I managed to appreciate.
The older I get, the more I understand the importance of rules. Imagine life in a society without them! Everyone would do what’s right in their own eyes. Chaos and crime would reign supreme. That’s why God has established rules. He knows that the human race can possess brilliant minds but zero wisdom. He knows we’re capable of royally messing up our lives and the lives others because of our selfish nature. And so, He’s laid out a few rules for us to follow. Here’s a sampling:
- Practice monogamy.
- Give to the poor, the widows, the orphans.
- Speak up for the defenseless.
- Give thanks in everything.
- Think only thoughts that are pure and honorable.
- Forgive those who hurt you.
- Pray about everything.
- Carry one another’s burdens.
- Do not gossip.
- Love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Love others as ourselves.
Good ones, eh? Imagine how sweet life would be if everyone on earth followed these rules. Too bad we don’t. Instead, we pick the ones we want to obey and rationalize our way through the rest. And what happens next? We end up in trouble and blame everyone but ourselves.
God’s rules are for a reason. Following them doesn’t flush the fun or cramp our style if we’re serious about living a life that He honors. Neither do they restrict us. Instead, they give us abundant life. Psalm 119:156 says, “LORD, how great is your mercy; let me be revived by following your regulations.”
Obeying God’s rules brings us understanding. Following them enables us to live well in a complicated world, surrounded by imperfect human beings. Embracing them brings benefits, while ignoring them brings regrets. Seems like a no-brainer then, doesn’t it?
How about you? What rules did you have while growing up? What insights do you have about God-given rules?