Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Sunday, July 29, 2018

I Will Follow the Rules

When I think about it, there are all kinds of rules everywhere for us to follow. Everything from laws to labels. There is always something for us to read, know and do (or not do). Sometimes I wonder if I can keep up with it all.

Even a place we stayed at on vacation some time back, I noticed a list of rules that was posted. No loud music; no more than two cars parked at your unit; put your trash in leak proof bags and put the leak proof bags in the designated receptacles; don't hang wet towels off the balcony rail; don't you hang off the balcony rail; keep your dog on a leash and keep his poop off the ground (or something like that).

The list was actually much longer. Rule after rule. But, it was ok because I understood why they had those rules. All of them made sense to me and had a valid reason behind them. In fact, I appreciated those rules and probably wouldn't have wanted to stay at a place that didn't have any. I wanted to have a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable family vacation experience, and those rules helped to make it so.

I must admit that early in my life, my view of the Bible was that it was basically a rule book; a long list of do's and don'ts. At that time, my heart was in a place that it wanted what it wanted and it certainly didn't want any dusty old rule book getting in the way of doing what I wanted. Of course I always wanted at least to have the notion of being a Christian, and Heaven was always a place where I wanted to go. But all those...rules; seemed like so many and so contrary to what felt right to me. I kept hearing it preached that through Jesus I could have joy, but it appeared to me God just wanted to take away my fun.

Well, that was then and this is now. I thank God that my eyes are wider and my brain is wiser. The Lord has helped me to see that this Christian walk is not about rules, it's about relationship. God's Word is first and foremost about me getting to know Him and how He loves me; and because He loves me, He want what's best for me; and He helps me find what's best for me by giving me rules to live by.

Some may think "rule" is a 4-letter dirty word; I know I used to. But it's not. God and I both know I need rules. I need lines painted on my road to help me stay out of the ditches. Just like the rules at the vacation house was for a better vacation experience, God's rules help me to have a better life experience. Now I understand what the psalmist was feeling when he wrote in Psalm 119:1 "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord".

So, with God's help, I will follow the rules.

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