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So, that's why

Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can’t see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there’s nothing there. Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. (2 Corinthians 3:15-18)

Back in the day, I used to be quite a 'rule-follower'. As a matter of fact, my friends used to make a bit of fun with me because they knew I would not do some things they might feel was okay. They would ask me why I didn't want to do some things and I'd simply answer, "I am not supposed to..." That is kind of a lame answer - I admit it now. The truth is that I rarely understood the reason behind some of the rules I lived by, but I knew i wasn't supposed to break them. The only problem with living this way is that 'blind obedience' is that one is blind to the reason or rationale for the actions they are taking. They just know they aren't supposed to do this or that, but there is no connection between the rule and the one who made the rule. Christianity may have some 'rules' - like the 10 commandments - but it is the connection to the living Savior that makes all the rule-keeping make sense.

God's intent is that we come to know his personal presence with us - not that we keep all the rules. It is this personal relationship that actually allows us to make sense of the rules - the commandments that are meant to keep us safe. We are truly free to live 'within' the rules, but don't have to be so intent on making sure we don't break one. We actually have the power to stay within the lines - we don't find as much issue with the lines because we begin to understand they are there for our protection. God's intent is for us to come into close personal relationship with him. It is this 'closeness' that helps us realize the rules pointed to a truth we didn't otherwise see: God's grace through his Son, Jesus Christ. Why is it important for us to understand grace? We are all rule-breakers and we NEED his grace more than we really want to admit!

The 'lines' we are always trying to not 'color outside of' now point us toward a transformational way of living. Instead of seeing the 'rules' as constricting, we see them as revealing bits and pieces of how God's presence with us actually makes us more alive and more aware of our world around us. Our lives are filling with light - the light of God. This light is actually what helps us see the 'why' behind the rules - we begin to appreciate the dangers the world's darkness actually hides from us until we have the light to illuminate why we want to stay 'within the lines'. God's rules aren't restrictive where there is light to illuminate where the lines actually keep us in a place of safety! Just sayin!

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