I hate rules!

 

rulesEvery use this line with your kids?  “Because I said so.”  It’s not the best way to parent, but there are times when we just run out of patience or explanation and there it is.  I suppose I’m something of a big kid, but there are not many things that make me more angry than dealing with rules for which there is no reason except that somebody has the authority to impose them!

Here in New Jersey, we are so over-regulated we almost need to have a lawyer on speed dial. Yet, I know that some of those laws that make me crazy are necessary to keep good order in society. Some of those laws that make me crazy are necessary to keep good order in society.  We need speed limits. I’m glad that there are zoning regulations that keep a junkyard from opening next door! So, when a police officer pulls me over for going a little too fast, I might resent the authority momentarily, but I am ever so thankful that he is there to restrain the person who wants to go 80 MPH on my residential street.

Fences and boundaries can be a very good thing in a world where real sinners live. If we are wise, we will accept that while the ‘rules’ of God might cramp our style, those same laws of the Heavenly Father are for our good. He does not rule arbitrarily, nor does He give us laws that are petty.  God never exercises authority on the basis of ‘’because I said so!” His directions allow us to live at peace with others and in the best way possible.

Have you read the Big Ten in Exodus recently? We would do well to memorize them.  A ton of personal pain could be avoided if we obeyed them.  As the Lord was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, He held a meeting with them to show them the kind of people He wanted them to be. (Exodus 20) Here’s a paraphrase of what He told them.

  1. No other gods but Me.
  2. No idols in your life.
  3. Don’t misuse my Name by claiming to act under my authority when you’re not.
  4. Keep one day out of seven for worship (a Sabbath) following the Creation pattern I established.
  5. Honor your parents and you’ll live longer.
  6. No murder.
  7. No adultery.
  8. No stealing.
  9. No lying about your neighbor.
  10. No wanting your neighbor’s stuff, his wife, or anything belonging to him.

As every parent knows, children are clever at finding loopholes and exceptions in our rules. “But, Dad, I heard you say … “   “I just thought that rule was for school nights, not the weekend.” And we who are God’s kids do the same thing, don’t we?  Christians may study the Bible endlessly, but is that study to discover how to live to please Him, or to find the exception? By the way, let me remind you that God is not using the Ten Commandments to grade us for eternity.  Keeping them perfectly, even if we could, won’t get us to Heaven! Only Jesus Christ can forgive our sins, but the “Big Ten” serve the purpose of building some fences. Galatians calls them “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24, KJV)

As we read in that passage from Galatians, God’s rules reveal our sinfulness. Paul knew the Law and it made him cry – “what a wretched man I am. Who will deliver me?”  His answer?  Jesus Christ, who saves and keeps me by grace.  Commenting on his natural tendency to rebel, he writes “there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”   He points us to the power to live a holy life that is found in a Person.  “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 7:23-8:1, NLT)

Read the “Big Ten” again from time to time. When that streak of independence rises and rebellion tempts, kneel and seek the Savior. He makes us holy starting in our heart. Reading that ancient code I found myself challenged anew by the holy expectation of my Father. I am a free man in Christ Jesus, not bound by the Law of Moses, but it does inform me about the quality of the love that God seeks in me for Himself and for those who live alongside of me.

Here are words from the Word. Join the Psalmist who sings of the majesty of God’s rule:

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9, NIV)

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11, NIV)

“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” (Psalm 119:14, NIV)

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” (Psalm 119:16, NIV)

___________

Jesus Loves Me

I was lost I was in chains
The world had a hold of me
My heart was a stone I was covered in shame
When He came for me

I couldn’t run couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run couldn’t run from His arms

Jesus He loves me
He loves me He is for me
Jesus how can it be
He loves me He is for me

It was a fire deep in my soul
I’ll never be the same
I stepped out of the dark and into the light
When He called my name

He holds the stars and He holds my heart
With healing hands that bear the scars
The rugged cross where He died for me
My only hope my ev’rything

Jesus He loves me
He loves me oh
Jesus how can it be
He loves me He is for me

He loves me He loves me
He loves me He is for me
My God it’s amazing oh
Jesus loves me

Ben Glover | Chris Tomlin | Reuben Morgan
© 2014 9t One Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Ariose Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055

 

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