All of our lives, we have had someone tell us what to do and what not to do. When we are young, we need the guidance of our parents since we don’t know how or what to do. As young children, we don’t see the danger of fire or what could happen if we run in a parking lot. Our parents had to teach us certain life lessons to keep us safe.
Then, as we matured and started school, we had teachers who set rules for us. A teacher’s rules might not have been to keep us safe, but they were there to help us learn. A teacher can’t be seen if the classroom doesn’t sit down and can’t be heard if the classroom is talking. These were simple rules that helped us learn to concentrate and follow instructions.
Most of us got jobs, and then we had a boss or supervisor who gave us tasks to accomplish. The job itself might have some rules that we had to follow, such as a dress code. This taught us how to prioritize tasks and how to dress professionally.
I know that rules aren’t generally fun and that we have all heard that “rules are meant to be broken.” Sayings like that appeal to our rebellious side, and we don’t like someone telling us what we can or can’t do. But, breaking the rules can also get us in a lot of trouble.
We have an oversized mailbox at the end of our driveway, and it can hold a lot of mail. I would stop every day as I left to go to work, pull up to the mailbox, and grab the mail. One day, Joe was with me, and he said, “you should get out of the car to go to the mailbox.” That wasn’t a rule, nor was it a command, but it was an instruction from Joe. And, I couldn’t see the value in the instruction, so I continued to get the mail “my way.”
I am not sure why, but I was in Joe’s truck one day instead of my car. So, as I pulled out of the driveway, I stopped at the mailbox, rolled down the window, and reached to open up the box. As I pulled on the lip of the mailbox, a giant spider crawled out from under it and scared me. I am terrified of spiders that I can see, but one hidden like that scared me. So, I jumped back and let go of the mailbox door.
Since our mailbox was oversized, the door is probably about 10 “-12″ long. As I let go of the door, it started to fall and hit the side of Joe’s truck, leaving a 2” scratch. I about died because I just knew that Joe would be livid, especially since he had told me that I shouldn’t open the mailbox in that way.
I pulled up to the house and ran in to see If I could find a marker to hopefully hide the damage. It was a futile attempt because it was right at the door handle, and there was no way that he was going to miss the scratch. I worried and fretted all day long, and when I saw him pull into the driveway, I took a big gulp and headed out to face the music.
I guess he could see the worry in my face because he asked what was up. I took him to the door, and the whole story came tumbling out of my mouth. I waited for the explosion, but instead, he said, “no big deal, we’ll get it fixed.” What?!? I told him how I had worried that he would be mad at me because I hadn’t listened to his instructions. Then he said, “we can’t change the past, but did you learn a lesson?”
To this day, and that was at least five years ago, I’ve never pulled up to the mailbox again. I always get out of my car, walk to the mailbox, look under the lip of the mailbox door, and then get the mail. I DID learn my lesson, and I now try to look behind the reason for rules, commands, or suggestions. They aren’t always to punish me but to guide and help me navigate my life.
So, when I read in the Bible that Jesus says, “I command you,” I need to pay attention.
21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
These were Jesus’ words to His disciples, and since I count myself as a disciple, I think the words also apply to me. Notice that Jesus doesn’t just say whoever has my commands, He also says, AND KEEPS THEM.” There is the kicker, the part where WE need to do something. We have a choice to make, and Jesus isn’t going to force us to obey Him.
The commands that Jesus gives us are meant to bring us closer to God. They are there for our benefit, and He wants us to take them to heart, but He gives a choice in the matter. If we choose to follow His commands, then Jesus knows that we chose to do so because we love Him.
But, just like my choice of getting the mail my way, instead of the way Joe asked me to, I sometimes don’t follow the commands that Jesus gave. I mess up, I do things my way, and I get myself in trouble. That is when I fret and worry, just like I did before Joe came home.
When I go to Jesus and confess my transgressions, He also says, “we’ll get it fixed.” He knows that I am imperfect, that I am going to mess up, and He is thrilled when I confess and repent of my sins.
11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
In John 8, Jesus was presented a woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to command to have her stoned to death, and instead, Jesus said for anyone without sin to cast the first stone. Not one person could do that since we are all sinners, Jesus then told the woman to go and to leave her life of sin. He didn’t condemn her but instead, He showed mercy toward her.
I love Jesus and I want to keep His commandments, and I find it comforting that even when I mess up, I have a way back to Him. Hopefully, just like with my mailbox adventure, I will learn my lesson and sin no more.
To God Goes The Glory!
Have A Blessed Day!