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Sunday, March 6, 2016

We don't need more rules

What holds power over you?  Some will say "absolutely nothing", while others will give me a laundry list of things form their addiction to a substance to the amount of time they spend at their workplace instead of with their families. It could be a lot of things, or just one - but the truth is that we all struggle with some things being in a place of "holding power" over us at one point or another.  What we need to recognize is that nothing "bad" can hold power over God's anointed - only he can!  We are "out from under" the control of sin's hold - death's hold - that addiction's hold - those troubling thoughts' hold - and the list goes on.

So we stand firm in the conviction that death holds no power over God’s Anointed, because He was resurrected from the dead never to face death again. When He died, He died to whatever power sin had, once and for all, and now He lives completely to God. So here is how to picture yourself now that you have been initiated into Jesus the Anointed: you are dead to sin’s power and influence, but you are alive to God’s rule. (Romans 6:9-11 VOICE)

When something holds power over someone there is this sense of being "dominated" by that thing or person.  In some instances, it is an individual who holds power over your life. As a little infant, we want someone to have that kind of oversight and protective watchfulness.  As an adult, we don't so much like being under someone's thumb all the time. Somewhere between taking our meals from a bottle nestled all warm and secure in our mom's arms and adulthood with all the demands placed upon us, we developed this sense of wanting to not be "under" anyone's control other than our own.  That may have worked well for us on some things, but if you are like me, it didn't work so well on others because I simply didn't do that good of a job with what my new-found freedom!

Christ's death broke the most powerful of "powers" in our lives - the power of sin's hold.  We are no longer under the influence of sin's powerful hold - we are free, but we have to learn to walk in this freedom.  When a man or woman "does time" in a prison, they dream of the day of being outside of those confines.  There is this desire to "be free" again - to no longer be under the control of the sentence they have been placed under.  The moment they are free, they have one of two choices - either they go wild under nobody's control, or they learn to live under control to a different set of rules.  Too many times we interpret being "free" to being without restraint or any "set of rules" by which we pattern our lives. The opposite is probably closer to the truth of how God wants us to live "out from under" the rule of our sinful nature. He desires for us to come under his "rule" - allowing his "rules" to provide a safe haven for us.

How can rules be a safe haven?  Well, think about it - why do we adopt certain rules we obey in society?  Isn't it for our safety?  For example, if we build multi-family structures such as apartment buildings or even a hotel, aren't there rules for our safety such as installation of fire alarms, smoke detectors, and even fire sprinkler systems?  Those things are there for our safety - those rules actually help to protect us, not hold us in bondage.  When we see a posted speed limit sign, it isn't suggesting that everyone go whatever speed they want, disregarding that posted limit.  That limit has been tested for the various road conditions which exist, such as school zones with small children passing, or the wide-open spaces of a rural highway which allows us sight for miles and miles without any merging traffic.  One limits us to a slower speed because of the inherent dangers in the area (small children crossing streets present hazards we might not be able to deal with if we didn't obey the slower speed).  Rules can limit us, but it is always for our safety and the safety of others who follow our example or count us to give them a place to safely walk through this life.

We might not want to think about being under the rule of anyone, but truth be told, the safest place for us is not doing our own thing, but allowing God to guide us into those places of safety he has prepared for us with all the foresight he possesses.  We want to do things one way, but it may not be the way which lead us into the greatest freedom.  So, rather than trying to make a new set of rules to live under, let's just try living under the set God has already given us through his Son!  Just sayin!