Rewind. Pause. Push Play. His rules remove your chains.
September 26, 2011 – Aaron Bird
Rewind: God’s will for you is not that hard to figure out. It’s not hidden or cloaked in mystery. There is no maze, no one, right path for you to take to get God’s best for you. Despite what you may have been told, God doesn’t try to trick you or rely on your correct interpretation of His promptings… when He speaks, He SPEAKS, and when He acts, He ACTS. Stop making your life more complicated than it has to be.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence… 2 Peter 1:3
God has given you everything you need.
His plan for you is written down. It’s been around for thousands of years, and millions of people have already read and lived it. He has placed His plan for you on your heart, and He has made it evident in the world around you: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. Romans 1:19-20. He even went so far as to nail His will on a cross for the whole world to see.
His will is for you to be with Him.
Stop stressing out about what God’s will is and live your life in pursuit of Jesus.
That being said, God has called His children to live differently than everyone else…
And I [Christ] am no longer in the world, but they [God’s people, those who keep His word] are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as We are one… They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:11, 16
No one likes that word ‘rules.’ Secretly, or maybe not so secretly, we’re all rebels at heart, and we view rules as the strings that hold us back and keep us from being completely free. But that’s a lie. His rules don’t limit your freedom, they remove your chains.
God loves you. And because He loves you, He wants you to be with Him. And because He wants you to be with Him, he wants to protect you from the things that could hurt you – the things of this world that could keep you from being with Him. He wants to set up a hedge of protection around your life. That’s what his rules are: a hedge of protection.
It’s the same logic that drives a loving dog owner to fence in his backyard. You want your dog to be free to roam around, investigate, and explore, to experience joy, challenge and growth, but, at the same time, you want to make sure that they’re safe, so you put up a fence to ensure that they’re exploration doesn’t end up killing them. The difference here is that a dog owner wouldn’t set up a fence and then leave the gate open… God not only loves us enough to give us freedom within his hedge of protection, but He loves us enough to give us the choice to leave.
If the dog/fence analogy isn’t working for you, think about it as living within the circle. Circles have no beginning and no end, and they are often used as a symbol of perfection and infinite love (think, wedding rings). Within the circle God has established for His people, we are each a piece of divine art; works-in-progress, no doubt, but art nonetheless. Inside the circle we are being sculpted and perfected; we’re becoming who we were meant to be. Inside, we’re made beautiful. Outside, we’re less than what our maker intended.
Sometimes, despite the inherent perfection within the circle, our sinful, impatient hearts tempt us to leave. We decide that we’re tired of letting God continue to sculpt our raw materials into something that looks more and more like Him. We tell ourselves we’re bored of living by the rules; we want to be our own master and live how we think is best. But the truth is, we leave the circle not because we’re bored, but because we can’t handle just how much God loves us.
Love, true love, the kind of agape love God has for us, is not interchangeable for kindness; it doesn’t mean constantly holding your hand or making every decision for you, and it certainly doesn’t mean telling your you’re great when you’re not. Love is exacting; it’s precise. Love points out where you’re falling sort, and encourages you to seek out Something to make you better. It boils down to what C.S. Lewis called the “intolerable compliment:” God loves you just the way you are, but He absolutely refuses to leave you that way.
God’s love is intense and unrelenting, and it pushes you to be more than what you are. It pushes you to be more like Him.
We get stuck in self-constructed mazes when we start to fixate on what we get worked up about because, often, it’s not what God gets worked up about, and we don’t understand why God isn’t getting worked up enough about what we’re worked up about to give us a direct answer about what we should do about what we’re worked up about. (See how that kind of logic can drive you crazy?) The thing is, God’s worked up about you: about who you are and who you’re becoming. His focus is extremely internal and that doesn’t always mesh with our external concerns.
When you’re living within the circle, respecting the hedge of protection God has established around your life, you always know where God is, even when you can’t see Him, and that gives you the freedom to roam, to decide, and to investigate without risk of endangering your soul. When you’re in the circle, you’re walking with Jesus, and life is good. Even when life is hard, it’s good.
Pause: God knows you and cares for you and has taken the time to explain how you can live a life of righteousness – one that is pleasing in His sight. With God, life is good. No matter what.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23
Push Play: “The thing is, God’s worked up about you: about who you are and who you’re becoming.” That truth should be incredibly humbling, and probably a little bit terrifying. The fact that God’s worked up about you is a big deal, and I can’t help but think that if the God of the universe is worked up about little, insignificant me, shouldn’t I be equally worked up about Him? God doesn’t need me, He doesn’t need any of us, but He wants us. He wants us so much He died for us. How can we even begin to understand that?
Yes, God is accessible and relatable and He wants you to approach Him, but we need to remember that He is also LORD. He’s powerful and holy, and while we are incapable of giving Him the kind of praise, reverence, and respect that He deserves, we still ought to try. He loves us. We should honor Him.