Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why so many rules?

Image by: Ian Britton at

I know one thing our society today struggles with: rules and authority.

It seems we are always trying to find ways to bend the rules, or we'll push things as far as we can without getting in trouble. "If I only drive 5mph over the speed limit I won't be pulled over." "Everyone else is doing it and they're not getting in trouble, so that must not be a rule they enforce."

I am typically a rule-follower, but I tend to do it with much griping and complaining if I don't understand the rule or if I don't agree with the decisions made by those in authority. I sometimes even take the attitude - If I were in charge, I would do it this way.

While I do need to learn to respect authority and rules that do not contradict God's laws (Romans 13:1). I can rest in the strength of God's laws. Don't get me wrong I still struggle with these sometimes. As I was reading in Deuteronomy 6 this morning I learned a few things though.

I know so many people who see God as this mean authoritarian, but that's not at all true. So, why does God give us so many laws and commands?

The first answer is because He wants us to do them (v 1). This may seem kind of obvious, but I know that so many times I read God's word and think about what He's calling me to do . . . and it ends there. He wants us to be doers of the word and not merely hearers (James 1:22). Of course, we must remember that it is only by His strength that we can do this, but He longs for us to do His commands.

The second reason God wants us to keep His commands is so that all "may be well with you" (v 3). God gives us His rules for our good. Think of it this way. Why do you tell your 3 year old not to put her hand on the stove? Probably because it could be hot and by putting her hand on it she could burn herself very badly. This is a rule or law that you've given her out of love - to protect her. If she puts her hand on the burner will you love her any less? No, but she will have a pretty serious burn, and possibly some scars from her choices. That's just the way it is with God. His rules are for our happiness and continual growth in Him.

It is my prayer today that I may not be grouchy and skimp on God's rules, but that I may follow them with a joyful heart!

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