Saturday, June 19, 2010

Obeying the rules

In my last blog I mentioned my week at the beach and how I learned some spiritual lessons through some very mundane things. Here is lesson number two from the beach trip.

The family who invited us are great people and we have been friends for several years. However, I did not know they were such a rules oriented family. The first day we were there I happened to walk in the house with my flip flops on and in a kind, friendly way my friend told me that one of the Beach House Rules was that we do not wear our shoes in the house. I quickly walked back to the porch and removed them. Once back in the house I asked if there was a reason why we cannot wear our shoes in the house. I expected him to say that they did not want the carpet to get ruined but instead he said he did not want sand spurs transferred from our shoes into the carpet. Sand spurs! He said the grass was loaded with sand spurs. As you walk from the beach to the house your shoes tend to pick up sand spurs. If you do not take your shoes off you will end up transferring the spurs from the bottom of your shoes to the carpet. And sense both the carpet and the spurs are beige it is almost impossible to see them until you have stepped on one and it is firmly planted in the bottom of your foot! My friend realized that there would be serious problems if he did not establish the No Shoes in the House rule. But not only did he make the rule but he enforced the rule. A rule is of no benefit if it is not enforced. As I thought about this I thought about what God has done for us. God has given us his word. Not simply as a list of rules or a list of do's and don'ts but a book that shows us how to live a fulfilled life.

Deuteronomy 8: 1-3 - 1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Psalm 119: 105 - 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
II Timothy 3: 16, 17 - 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Now my friend could have said I really don't want to impose any rules or burdens on my guests so I am not going to tell him the No Shoes rule. Instead he could have let me track spurs in the house all week long but that would have been a bad thing, not only for me, but for everyone in the house. But instead, out of his concern for all our well being, he told me about the rule and made sure I remembered to obey it. This ultimately made for a pain free experience at the beach (if you don't count the sunburn). In the same way God has established his rules and principles not as a form of punishment but for the purpose of helping us live the kind of life he called us to, a fulfilled life.

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