I Used To Hate God’s Rules
By age 18 or so, I was tired of anyone telling me what to do. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like to listen to people, I hated the idea of anyone putting me in a box. I was a very unique person and I wasn’t going to fall in line with anyone. I wasn’t going to even choose a career – I was going to make my own. I didn’t see myself as prideful, no, I saw myself as very motivated, very driven.
That’s why I definitely didn’t want to hear anything about God. I was going to live my own life, a good life, but it would be my way. All those commandments and rules God had just seemed like a way to put chains on me and keep me from success. Nothing was going to hold me back, certainly not an ancient book full of ‘thou shalts’. My motto was, “I’ll be a self-made man.” I refused even go to college believing that, “I will learn what I want to learn, not what someone else thinks is important.” I was a bull, in the pen, ready to rumble.
That mindset stayed with me for about 15 years. Granted, the last 5 were pretty pitiful. I was broken and battered those last 5 years. Failed businesses, debt from business loans, 80 hour work weeks – all that stuff just beat the fight out of me. My entrepreneur’s mind would come up with an idea and I didn’t have enough to confidence to even get the idea off paper and into reality. I had gone back to college for a Bachelor’s and even a Master’s, yet, that didn’t even pick me up. I was done, in more ways than you can imagine.
That’s when I turned to God for answers and He gave them freely. One thing I learned from Him I’d like to share. It may sound pretty simple, but let me confess, I’m a pretty simple dude. I learned that God does have lots of rules and commandments, it’s true. However, it’s because He invented this world and He knows it a lot better than I do. God knows that life is absolutely brutal. That’s why He gave us all the rules. It wasn’t to keep us from things, it was to protect us so we could enjoy life.
Paul talks a great deal about marriage in the New Testament. (1 Corinthians 7) Men and women are supposed to play certain roles, honoring God as they do so. If we don’t comply, marriages break down. God created marriage, just as He created us, and He alone knows how it should work. If you try marriage another way, it will probably fail. Trust me on that one.
God also knew what He was doing when He told children to honor and obey their parents. (Exodus 20:12) How many kids do you see, running around, acting crazy, and eventually getting in trouble? God knows that children are supposed to learn and grow from their parents discipline, just as we’re to learn and grow from His discipline. He wasn’t trying to keep children from fun, but protect them.
On this Earth, Jesus talked so much about loving one another. He told us to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Jesus knows that love covers so many wrongs. I think the saddest folks you can meet are people who harbor resentment and hate for others. They’re bitter, complain about their lives, and are overall unpleasant people. Jesus wasn’t asking us to love each other because it sounds nice. He knows we’re human, make mistakes, and will always need each other’s love. He was trying to help us maintain and repair all sorts of relationships!
Also in the New Testament, Paul talks about sexual immorality, like he does in 1 Corinthians 6:18-19. He tells us to flee from sexual immorality and it’s sinning against our own body. I think people really get hung up on this one. How often does sex ruin people and relationships? Teen pregnancies, STD’s, poor girls that think sex equals love, guys that become addicted to it: all issues that could be avoided if we listen to God’s word. God’s not trying to kill our fun, He’s trying to protect us from ourselves.
There are also consequences for not obeying God. In Galatians 6:7, Paul talks about us reaping what we sow. If we sow God’s will for us, we reap good things. If we reap sin, we reap negative consequences. Is this God being a jerk? Of course not! This is God trying to redirect us, to save us! Even when we’re Godless, Our Heavenly Father is trying to save us. Now, that’s love.
When I started to understand God better, it was when I began looking at Him as the Ultimate Father. Try and think about the best father you know, whether it’s on TV or in real life – God’s probably that guy multiplied by infinity. Good fathers set rules and boundaries. They punish their children, if they have to, because they love them. The children that run around uncorrected are not the ones you want sitting behind you in a restaurant! Renowned psychologists even have discovered that children are happier with rules and discipline.
God does exactly that with us. He gives us rules and helps us follow them. If we make a mistake, we’re punished, but He takes us back in love immediately. Father of the year, for certain, right? All those rules, that seem so strict, are to protect us. God knows what this world is like and what it can do to us – after all, He created it. Without His rules, without His love, we’d be out there getting torn apart and not know any different.
That’s why, these days, I’m happy to be put in the box God created for me. In His box, I get protected from so many awful things this world can throw at me. I receive His promises, His love, His peace, all of it. Jeremiah 31:33 talks about God “putting His law in our minds and writing it on our hearts” because we’re His people. All those laws, the rules – they’re a gift. I always wanted to play by my rules, but my rules gave me no protection and no blessings – they left me broken. What was so great about my way anyway? It was all about me, all the time. “Self-made” I said. I can barely make an omelette. I’d rather be made by the One who is everlasting; the One who created the moon, stars, and sun.
Josh, This, as well as all the others, are wonderful. I suggest you change the word “trying” in this one,–God is trying to save us, because of the connotation of false theology, that God is TRYING to save us if we will be LET Him, as though He has not the power to make it happen.
I know you don’t mean it that way. But don’t you think it would get around all that and still express truth, to same something like “God is WORKING to save us.” Because you are bringing out that He has given us all these rules and commands to protect our lives and lead us in the right way.–Paw Paw