Rule-Maker Focused


Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope. I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever. I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed. How I delight in your commands! How I love them! I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees. (Psalm 119:43-48)

As I have mentioned on other occasions, it can be hard to keep 'rules' - some believing that God's commandments are merely a set of 'rules' that must be kept or else. It is the 'or else' that keeps them constantly striving to 'do' as the commandments require, but if we live our lives with an 'or else' kind of faith, we are always going to be looking over our shoulders or fearing the hammer is about to fall. Yes, God is a God of justice. Yes, he has laid out his commandments or 'spiritual rules' for each of us to clearly understand. He has NOT left us powerless to 'live within' the boundaries of his commandments, though. We don't 'do' obedience - we 'live' obedience. There is a difference. The difference comes in the attitude of heart toward the 'rule' or commandment. If we are constantly living in fear of 'not keeping the rule' to the letter of the rule, we are living with chains on - bound to the rule. We are meant to be heart-bound to the one who gives the rules, not soul-bound to the rule itself. What is established when a surveyor sets out a marker of boundaries for the builder? Is it not showing the builder the area of land that is 'safe' for the work that needs to be done? The builder begins to work 'within' those boundaries because the 'scale' and 'scope' of the work is established by those boundaries.

The boundaries God gives in our lives (his commandments) are meant to help us stay within the 'scale' and 'scope' of work, play, and relationships he knows will allow us to enjoy our lives. The 'scope' is our 'space of movement' - within the boundaries, we can move as freely as we like. As soon as we start to approach the limits of those boundaries, we begin to encroach upon territory not declared to be ours. It could be because it will be unsafe for us to traverse that territory - we aren't ready for it, aren't mature enough to explore it, or it will not produce good things within our lives. To push beyond the boundaries into what is not within our 'scope' is indeed unwise. The 'scale' determines the extend or range of activities that are deemed to be safe for us within those boundaries. Some might think of this as the 'spectrum' of things that are 'okay' for us to explore. The boundaries God establishes through his commands may not leave a lot of wiggle room for us - such as don't steal, don't commit adultery, and don't covet. Then there could be a little bit of wiggle room for some other things - such as do I get my ears pierced, can a Christian get a tattoo, or is it okay to drink a glass of wine with supper. Scripture declares some commandments as 'absolutes' and then it may afford us the 'choice of conscience' as to other things.

To be bound to the rule may actually keep us from understanding the extreme love of the rule-maker. Every 'rule' is given in love - protection being at the core of each set of boundaries. So, we shouldn't let the rule be our focus - we need to let God be our focus and the rule will not seem like a limitation as much as it will become our choice in order to enjoy absolute protection. Just sayin!

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