In life, we have certain rules, laws, and guidelines for living. For example, there are speed limit signs, yield signs, and stop signs posted all over the United States. In hospitals, there are certain areas where the general public cannot enter. In sports, there are certain rules which must be followed in order to score for the team. Just as there are many rules for life, there are also rules, commandments, and guidelines in the Bible. But why? Why are there rules?
Let’s imagine that there are no rules on the roadways. Cars would be crashing into one another, people would get ran over, cars would overheat from extreme speeding – all sorts of bad things could happen!
And, what if there were no rules in hospitals? What if no one respected the “Keep Out” signs on doors? Random people could wander in while you are in surgery, expensive medical equipment could be easily stolen – it would be a disaster!
Or, what if there were no rules in sports? How would the referee know who to give the points to? What if NFL football players used golf clubs to hit the football into the field goal?! What if they ran in circles chasing the Quarterback? It might be funny to watch for a little bit, but we must admit – the game would make no sense, people could get hurt, and it would be pointless.
We can easily understand why there are rules in life – for our own protection. In the same way, there are certain rules and guidelines in the Bible for us to follow. Did God put all of these rules in place to make our life hard or boring? No, of course not! He gave us guidelines in scripture so that we would not harm ourselves or others. The rules are there for our own protection.
If you are babysitting a one-year-old baby, you must teach the baby certain rules. Let’s say that you have baked some cookies and are getting them out of the oven. About that time, the little baby crawls around the corner and tries to touch the oven door. Immediately, you will say, “NO! DON’T TOUCH THAT!” Are you trying to be mean to the baby by giving him rules to follow? No, of course not – you are simply trying to protect the baby from getting burned. He is in your care and you don’t want to see him get hurt because you love him.
You see, God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children. He cares for us and does not want us to get hurt or make bad decisions. Why? Because, He loves us and wants to protect us. We must always remember that the Bible gives us rules for our own good. God wants us to spend eternity with Him – He wants to protect us. He loves us.
The Bible says that whom God loves, He also corrects. Deuteronomy 8:5 says this: “Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.” Scripture also teaches us about God’s loving discipline in the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 12:5-11 states: “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
So, when we follow God’s Word – we do well. If we are His child who has accepted Him as our Savior, we might still make mistakes; however, He will lovingly correct us and get us on the right path again. His rules and guidelines are there for our own good. If we are wise, we will follow the commandments set forth in scripture in order to please God and to save ourselves some heartache. When we do not follow His Word, we only do ourselves harm.
1st Thessalonians 1:8-9 says: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power…”
It is up to each of us, individually, whether or not we choose to serve God. However, why would we wish to cause ourselves harm by not serving Him? God loves us so much and if we are not 100% for Him, then we are 100% against Him. Scripture teaches us this: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16)
To summarize, we must remember that God shows no favoritism and requires the same of us all to be forgiven… we simply come before Him and pray. The Bible says that WHOSOEVER calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Acts 10:34-35 states: “…Then Peter replied, ‘I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.’” God will help us to do right and give us a desire to follow His guidelines. Pray that He will give you a hunger and a thirst after righteousness; a hunger and a thirst to do good.