22 RulesPosted: June 16, 2012
When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited Him to eat with him; so He went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. Luke 11:37-38
Jesus calls us to obey Him, not man made rules. In Jesus time the Pharisees and teachers of the law taught many man made rules. These rules were like little x’s around the big X of God’s Law. For example, the Law says to keep the Sabbath day holy by doing no work (Ex. 20:10). The Pharisees and teachers of the law taught rules like, “Do not light a fire on the Sabbath”.
We do the same today when we make up our own rules. Our rules may even seem amusing to those around us. For example, “Do not be one minute late for work,” and its antithesis, “Do not be one minute early for work.” Another couplet is, “Don’t drive one mile per hour over the speed limit,” and, “Don’t drive one mile per hour under the speed limit.” Rules such as these constrict our lives. Sets of rules can also put us in double-binds. Examples of double-binds are, “Do not lie,” and, “Don’t say anything that could hurt anyone.” Or the corollary, “Always tell the truth,” and, “How things look is what matters.”
Constricting and double-binding rules can drive us crazy. Rules also “load people down with burdens they can hardly carry.” (Luke 11:46) These rules have an appearance of wisdom but lack any power in helping us obey Jesus and live a godly life (Colossians 2:20-23).
We develop rules in reaction to shame. When we wrongly assume that feelings of shame are about what we have done rather than about what has been done to us, we treat shame as guilt. In our search for what we have done wrong, we actually find some blame that we can lay on ourselves. We develop rules to guard us from future wrong-doing to protect us from “guilt”, but these rules actually create more “guilt”. We feel “guilty” whenever we inevitably break our constricting and double-binding rules. In actuality, rules trap us and keep us from moving forward in life. Confession frees us from guilt and can bring light to our self-imposed rules. Anything that attempts to hold us in bondage is shame or condemnation (Rom. 8:1). There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
Jesus says to us: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Finding rest for my soul,
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