“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. “
I Corinthians 10:23
When my children were really small, they had to do whatever in the world I told them too. Get in the car. Get in the bath. Stay out of the refrigerator. Bring me your book bag.
There came a time when one of my sweet children (who shall remain nameless) began asking me after my directions “what will you do to me if I don’t do that?”
This child was weighing out the consequences. They were deciding whether it would be worth the adventure to just flat out do it their own way and take the punishment rather than obey and keep peace in our little family.
The reality is, that child could literally choose not to get in the car, get in the bath, stay out of the fridge or bring me said book bag.
It was their choice. They had the freedom to choose in those moments.
I wasn’t delving out instructions because they needed to know who was boss. I didn’t take pleasure in pointing my finger with “go here” and “sit there” and “do it now”.
Everything I told my kids to do was in their best interest. Whether short term or long term, it was to their advantage to just obey.
Loading up in the car was the pathway to school or Mimi’s house, a bath kept them clean, unnecessary trips to the fridge would spoil their dinner and there were things in the book bag I was expected to sign and initial or else my children would suffer consequences the next day from their teacher.
You see, it wasn’t always about right and wrong and being bossed around, it was about knowing what was best for them and keeping them on the right track. A track that would ultimately be for their good.
Today we have laws and rules and convictions we are told to follow, but like our children, we are tempted to do things our own way.
We like to question.
But, there is an authority who knows what’s in our best interest and we’d be wise to listen to Him.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
I Corinthians 10:13
Whenever we are tempted to take action that contradicts with His word, He helps us to flee from that temptation. That is great news! Temptation is going to be a part of life. He calls us to lean into Him during those times and ask Him how to escape that thing. Whatever it is.
Here’s what I know, the directions He gives to us are for our benefit. It’s not to restrain us from becoming the “real us”, it’s to keep us away from the things that will keep us from becoming who we were made to be. We are His creation. He knows what’s best for us. He knows what’s coming around the corner of our lives. He knows how we need to be prepared best.
I’m free to stand on railroad tracks.
I’m free to drive at high speeds.
I’m free to walk across a busy highway without looking both ways.
I’m free to view pornography.
I’m free to charge up my credit cards.
I’m free to gossip.
I’m free to yell at my husband and children when I’m angry.
I’m free to ignore the Holy Spirit when it nudges me to do something.
I’m free to stay away from church.
I’m free to cheat on my spouse.
I’m free to lie to my boss.
What is it in God’s word that you struggle with the most?
What if we stopped looking at God’s book as a rule book and instead looked at it as a play book?
Like a coach teaching and training their team, when the players execute the plays as they’ve been taught, more ground is gained and the coach is pleased. The team is heading in the right direction.
Doing things God’s way won’t come without obstacles and challenges, but it will produce more wins than losses.
He gives us the freedom to make our choices, just like my children had freedom. But, the consequences are never worth the rebellion. Never. Trust me.
I’ve heard the Bible referred to as a “book of instructions” or an “owner’s manual for life”and those labels have some significance to them. But, the difference in using the book as just a manual or instruction book and reading it for it’s overall purpose is very different.
The One who wrote the book…He is the book.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
When we read and study the Bible, the best part of our learning isn’t in the rules or commands, it isn’t in the answers we’re looking for or the list of do’s and don’ts we may find.
It’s in those pages that we see who God really is. How He loves us. His character. His heart. The motivation behind Him giving us those commands.
Mama’s have their children’s best interest in mind when they teach them.
Coaches have their team’s best interest in mind when they instruct them.
God has our best interest in mind when He gives us wisdom through His word to help us make wise choices.
We make our own choices but then our choices make us.
Let’s be careful. Let’s be teachable.
Let’s be grateful for the freedom to choose and the knowledge that the One who helps us to make our choices does so out of love.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you always seen the Bible as just a book of rules? Do you imagine God pointing His finger with a never-ending list of to-do’s? I challenge you to turn your thinking around and see it as a play book. A book with direction and wisdom meant for your benefit.
Are you curious when you see Christians study the Bible? Are you wondering where the freedom is in that? Ask someone you know to help you understand why.