What are some rules or guidelines that seem silly or strange to you? How about a warning label on a toaster that says, “do not operate near water?”
I generally did not have trouble with rules growing up. I respected my parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, coaches, teachers and employers, and trusted the guidelines and parameters they set out for me. I never had reason to mistrust the direction given to me, and never felt threatened, micro-managed, pushed around, or coerced to do something morally or ethically wrong.
When I felt it was necessary to question something, I did, and most of the adults were open to me challenging the process, as long as I did it with a respectful tone and attitude. I have to admit that when I saw a rule or standard, it did not initially upset me or make me want to disobey. I guess that can be traced back to growing up in a safe family atmosphere where my parents modeled authenticity, kindness, and uprightness. I never had reason to question their integrity.
Rules can sometimes be silly, depending on your point of view. I remember the University of Michigan “Fab Four” – four freshmen basketball players who ended up starting their first year on campus. They wore long, baggy shorts with black socks, and played with an infectious enthusiasm, yet their uniform choices drew the ire of many. I also remember a time in the NBA when basketball players were fined for wearing their shorts too long. What possible problem could wearing long shorts cause?
Since I’ve grown up, I have realized there are silly rules and vital standards. For each of us to grow to maturity, we need to know the difference between the two. Here are three examples:
First, the call of Scripture to, “Turn your eyes away from worthless things.” (Psalm 119:37). That admonition would seem to help one get and stay on the right path.
Second, the personal rule to, “Flee sexual temptation.” (1 Corinthians 6:18). That guideline would keep you from numerous difficulties and far reaching consequences.
Third, is the standard that says, “Do not get drunk on wine…instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18). Again, wise counsel to save you a lifetime of troubles.
One way to make sure a standard is worth following is to consider its source. The three ideas above are good examples of wisdom that all come from the Bible. They are critically important rules meant to be followed, without exception, for ultimate human flourishing.
Read Colossians 3:1-7.
Certainly silly rules can be frustrating and probably don’t make much of a difference in your life. But what if you could tap into the greatest wisdom about living life to its fullest, reaching for your potential, and avoiding cultural traps meant to tear you down and limit your effectiveness?
God’s standards are different. They steer you away from a moment or a lifetime of trouble. His Spirit can empower you to choose life, not death. Grow devotionally. Read and obey Scripture. Trust God. He knows what is best for you. His rules are for His glory, and our benefit.
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz