Rules. What a bother. Often we are tempted to think that the rules (or commands) held within the pages of the Bible are there to make our life miserable. The world tells us that we have no fun as Christians. And, yes, many are the commands given to us as followers of Jesus Christ and Jesus says if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. (John 14:21). But what would happen if there weren’t any rules? Something happened to our family awhile ago that gave insight into this question and led me to the conclusion that perhaps many of the commands Jesus gives us are not only for His glory, but also for OUR protection.
We used to have pet rabbits. One weekend, after we had just gotten our new baby bunnies, we decided to take them along on a camping trip. We brought a crate along to set right outside the door of the camper where they could be kept safe and sound. We gently placed our four bunnies in the crate on Friday night but when we woke up the next morning, we only had three! My son’s bunny, Twitches, had disappeared. He must’ve been small enough to squeeze through the narrow bars. Unfortunately, Twitches did not know that he had everything he needed right where he was. He didn’t know that he should have been perfectly happy and content. Instead he longed for adventure and so he escaped the crate only to be eaten or to starve or to drown. We never did find out what happened to him. Needless to say, it cast a bit of a shadow over that particular camping trip.
This incident reminds me of God’s commandments. Sometimes we want to leave God’s “crate”. It’s not a crate you can see, but it is a safety zone, set up by the commandments and laws God has placed in the Bible. Here are a few examples: “Do not commit adultery” brings protection and well-being to the family. “Do not bear false witness” brings peace and love to relationships. “Honor your father and mother” keeps young people from making the stupid mistakes their parents made and learned from. “Do not be unequally yoked together” protects young people from a marriage that could never be truly unified.
We are safe in God’s safety zone, but many of us are not content. We want the fun the world offers! We want adventure! We want to do our own thing and we declare in our hearts that no one- not even God- is going to tell us what to do…and then we reap the consequences. And often during those consequences we cry out “Why?!” to God angrily. Sinful choices always reap harmful consequences.
God, All-Knowing, has placed great wisdom within the holy scriptures for us to live by. Great are the blessings to us if we follow the commands found there. Sure, life won’t be all roses, but we will avoid many painful experiences if we obey the Lord and His commands. And we will also experience more joy and happiness than anyone in the world could imagine. You see, the things that look “fun” in the world really aren’t much fun in the end.
And yet so many of us are just like Twitches. We long for release from the “safety zone”. We want to experience the WORLD and its lusts and its passions, not realizing that we are going to only end up hurting ourselves and often those we love. May we cast aside our rebellious spirits and submit ourselves wholly to God…which is the only way we will ever experience peace on this earth.
Exodus 20: 1-7; John 14:21