Play by the Rules


In life, better yet, in culture, it seems the game is played by a set of "pre-determined" rules. But whose rules are they? And why do we have to play by them?

I have never been one for rules. Rules of games, for example, I can never remember them. I nearly fall asleep listening to the rules being read as I learn a new game. In fact, just this weekend my daughter and I had been playing a game for about an hour before my husband joined us and enlightened us, we had been playing the game wrong. Oops!

Some say rules are made to be broken. Some say rules keep us safe. Some same rules are the foundation and building blocks for a society. But are societies best laid rules the best rules for us to live by?

Depending on cultural upbringing, social status, economic status, religion, familial expectations and more the list of rules to live by can be quite long. As I said, I am not one much for rules, they feel confining. The social norms often feel shallow. My trouble with rules has to do with my lack of understanding the "why" behind them. My desire to be a rule follower increases a hundred fold if I know "why".

This week I have been reading in 2 Chronicles. The various kings of Israel and Judah made their choice to create their own rules, follow the rules of another leader or follow the rules God had laid out generations before. The story of King Ahaz stood out to me as I read. King Ahaz tried to play by the rules of another nation - outside the scope of who God called the nation of Israel to be. The result - he failed.

2 Chronicles 28:23 says, "He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him; he said, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram are helping them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.” But they were the downfall of him and of all Israel."

What worked for another nation did not work for him. As a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David he was called to live and play by a higher standard. He was called to rely on God for victory. He was called to play by a different set of rules. When Ahaz chose to step out of alignment with God's commandments for the Israelites, they lost their power to win the battle.

When it comes to God's rules, for a long time, knowing and understanding the "why" behind what he calls us to in the Bible was an incessant pursuit. I still do not have all the answers. I still do not know the "why" behind some of his commandments. But his rules and guidelines for living I can trust because I have seen and experienced the blessings that come from following His words in my own life. I trust that He has nothing but His best for me.

God's rules don't hem me in or confine my thinking. In reality, God's rules are freeing. They are liberating me from being bound by the limitations of the world. God's rules free me from being confined by who the world says I should be. Overtime knowing the "why" behind God's rules is no longer important to me. The fruit that has come from following Him far surpasses my hunger to know the "why".

In conclusion, I ask you. Do you battle with elevating societies rules above the rules of God? Do you place more weight on living as "normal" people even if "normal" is against who God calls us believers to be? Do you, like me, struggle with the desire to know "why"? Are you willing to let go of knowing the "why" and walk into following God with your whole heart?

If you are feeling powerless, like you just can’t win, perhaps you are trying to live by the society’s standards instead of the standard of God’s word. Think on it and let me know where you land with this topic.

Leave a comment. Share how God is dealing with you in this area. Your story can and will inspire another to live more fully in Christ.

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