Aren’t you glad there is more to life than rule-keeping?

Published 9:11 am Friday, April 16, 2010

I am a rule-keeper.

All of us Pharisees are.

I like rules.

Email newsletter signup

They are a comfort to me.

Then I know the lines and limits,

The expectations and boundaries.

Rules are good.

They guide and protect.

They facilitate life.

I am glad at the end of the day

when I have the satisfaction of

having kept the rules for living.

I like that freedom from guilt.

Then I can sleep well.

Rules also give me a measure

for measuring others.

I can be very skilled at that.

I can become very angry.

And critical. And superior.

(Rule-keepers are often score-keepers)

But there is another side to me.

I also hate rules.

At least, the hard ones.

Like: Love your neighbor.


God first.

The question — always:

Have I ever done enough?

An endless chant rings in my ears,

Ever faster, ever louder:

More, David, More!

More, David, More!

More David, More David,

More! More! More!

And then the doubts:

Does life boil down to rule-keeping?

Is that the sum and substance?

Isn’t there more? And better?

Yes! A thousand times Yes!

There is a soaring above the rules!

Exceeding and transcending.

So much higher than rules.

In the joy that such freedom brings.

Like Jesus!

Jesus kept rules.

Except when they got in God’s way.

When rules were not enough.

When rules were stiff and stifling.

When they bound instead of freed.

When they death-ed instead life-ed.

Want evidence?

Jesus broke with the rule-keepers in John 8.

They were right about the rules.

But they were wrong in their hearts.

They were 100 percent right! And dead wrong!

Rules are good — but they are inadequate.

They just can’t do what really needs doing.

As Paul wrote,

“If speak in the tongues of men and of angels,

but am only a rule-keeper, I am a noisy gong —

a clanging symbol — unable to help people in

the ways we humans need most.” (I Cor. 13)

Let us walk with Jesus.

He will guide us when to — and when not to.

He will lead us into the way of freedom —

For ourselves — and others.

He could — because he himself was free.

Where would any of us be —

if God went strictly by the rules?

Aren’t you glad there is more to life — 

than rule-keeping?