Monday, April 4, 2011

rules to live by

get ready

What goes up...


...must WILL come down.


There would have been a time in my life when I would have argued against that statement (along with every other "rule" placed before me). But I'm older now. And wiser... in part because of my mistakes.

But what happens when we refuse to learn from our mistakes? What if instead, we insist that we are free to do whatever we please and believe the consequences that result to be "the real problem"? For example, if I twist my ankle every time I jump off the chair I might insist that the problem isn't my jumping... but the hard surface I'm landing on. I could spend years padding the floor with all sorts of things in an attempt to not twist my ankle.

Or, I could go to the root of the issue and STOP JUMPING OFF OF THE CHAIR.

My point is that it isn't really *the rules* that are the problem, it's the stubborn insistence I have to do things MY WAY. Rules were meant to protect us. They are boundaries. We usually even have a ton of freedom within those boundaries but human nature pushes us to push back. And it's been like that since the beginning of time.

Interestingly enough, pushing past the boundaries usually leads to LESS FREEDOM. Some examples include:
  • spending beyond the boundaries of my paycheck led to me losing my checking account;
  • skipping out on classes when I didn't feel like going, led to academic probation and ultimately suspension;
  • choosing to stay with a guy that everyone said was BAD NEWS, led to more than four years of heartache and betrayal;
  • underage drinking in the lives of a few close to me has led to a lifetime of alcohol abuse and even death (FACT = youth who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years - click HERE for more information);
  • the rising number of teens engaging in sexual behaviors is a prime example; of the 757,000 adolescents between 15-19 years old who got pregnant in 2002, I wonder how many would agree that their choices significantly altered their freedom? Or the 5,259 young people aged 13-24 in 33 states (reported to the CDC) who were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2006, what about their freedom post-diagnosis?
As I mentioned above, rules are meant to protect. In the same way I set boundaries for my children, God has boundaries for us - His children. Not given out of spite or cruelty, but out of LOVE - wanting the best for us. My goal as a parent is not to be a "fun-wrecker" - I want my kids to enjoy their lives without having to constantly put out fires or deal with the long-term consequences of poor choices.

Been there, done that.

I want them to know freedom in every sense of the word - physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I want them to learn to go to the root of the issue instead of just padding the floor. Pretty much the same thing that God wants for us.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

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