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My youngest is in that cute-right-now-but-not-so-cute-in-3-years sort of stage where she will turn and make sure she has my attention just before she does something wrong. She wants to be sure I know she is breaking the rules.
There is something about breaking the rules that makes all of us more conscious of who is around us. As grownups, we probably want to be sure that no one is watching rather than making sure that the rule-enforcer is paying attention; regardless, we want to know who can see us.
When I make rules for our kids, I am really just describing to them how life works.
Don’t touch that stove because fire is hot and will burn you.
Don’t hit people because then no one will want to play with you.
I’m sure my girls often feel as though I am just trying to ruin everything they want to do, but the truth is that I understand better than they do how life works best and I want to teach them how to navigate life in a way that will make them content.
Ever wonder why God gave the Ten Commandments? Why He gave over six hundred laws in the Old Testament or why more than one thousand in the New?
Is it because He loves rules? Is it because He enjoys watching His children stay restrained and unable to enjoy their lives?
If God did indeed create this world and everything in it, then this has consequences for every realm of human life. It’s not just about being moral, it’s about metaphysics. It’s about the nature of things.
In simpler terms, God knows better than anyone else how this life works.
If God knows how life works best, it would be cruel to withhold that information from those He loves.
Thus, He gave us His laws.
Not as a way to restrain us, rather as a way to help us navigate life in a way that will help us to be most content, that will bring us the most peace and joy, that will make us most like Him.
Asking us to obey, then, becomes not a way to keep us far away from Him, but a way to bring us close. A way to prove His love for us by making us fit for His presence.
The next time you are chafing under His rules, remember who created this life and thus knows it best. Trust in His love, obey Him, and reap the benefits.
The next time you hesitate to bring your faith into the public realm, remembering that Christ’s rule has public ramifications may be the most generous and loving service you can offer to your neighbors.
A life of consistent obedience leads to ever-increasing joy.
Put it to the test and you’ll see.
Art Credit: Moses and the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt