Friday, 17 June 2011
I think rules are one of the biggest deterrents of religion. The Bible is full of things God commands us to not do. Some seem pretty fair and expected: no murdering, no stealing, no committing adultery. Everyone’s on board with those. But then there’s the other rules: no sex until marriage, no crazy drugs or alcohol, etc. These rules seem stuffy and old-fashioned. It’s the year 2011, and lots of people just want to do away with these restrictions.
I might be in the minority, but I quite like rules. Not empty vain ones like “no wearing white after Labor Day” (what’s up with that?). I’m talking about those rules which help us and guide us by pointing out what’s the wise choice to make, and these are the kinds of rules God gives us. Sex feels good, and it just doesn’t seem fair to wait when you’ve got someone you love right now, or are young and carefree. But then I think about all of the things in the world that would be completely changed if people only had sex with the person they married. STDs wouldn’t be an issue if you’re first sexual partner was your one and only for life. Prostitution and its associated crime wouldn’t exist. No accidental pregnancies by single teenagers who bring their kids into horrible situations. No drugs and alcohol would mean none of the terrible experiences of addiction and the life destroying effects it has. No accidents caused by drunk drivers. No drug crimes and probably less poverty.
You could argue the logistics of any of these scenarios, especially how unrealistic they are. But what I’m describing here is the world God intended for us when he declared these restrictions on our lives. He didn’t create rules to make life less fun. He created rules to shield us from the terrible situations that arise when we do whatever we want, even though one individual’s actions don’t seem so harmful. What I described were extremes that do not happen to everyone, but they DO happen. These extremes illustrate God’s plan for our lives.
Adam and Eve though they were missing out. They had Paradise all around them, but that treacherous though about the fruit did them in: “Is God holding something back from us? Are we missing out?” They broke that rule, the rule that seemed so restrictive, and instead enslaved themselves even further by bringing in sin, pain, and death.
Since I became a Christian, a lot of my old friends like to tell me my life is limited because I don’t drink, I’m waiting until marriage for sex, and I dress modestly. It’s funny because I know that these very limitations are what have truly set me free. No longer am I a slave to lust that forced me to seek out men for pleasure. No longer do I worry about sexual diseases or pregnancy. No longer do I Have to face regrets of drunken behavior. No longer am I making it easy for men to look at my body, and have perverse thought about it. I’m not a slave to sin, like many people unknowingly are.
I don’t want to be like Adam and eve and wonder what lies beyond God’s rules. I’ve lived it, and I’m no longer willing to trade that one fruit when I have a whole garden of privileges from God. God’s knowledge about what’s necessary for my purity and safety is beyond my comprehension. Obedience isn’t blind and conforming; it’s accepting that God lovingly shared guidelines and warnings with us to spare us from all the pain our own actions cause. His rules aren’t leashes keeping us from fun, they are the foundation of life and forms of His love.
Have you ever felt restricted by any of God’s rules? How have you reacted to that feeling?