Too Many Rules?


                I think I should stop driving. No, I am not too old to drive and can still handle the 5-speed transmission in my truck, but I am tired of the rules. There are so many rules governing the use of automobiles. Before I can even turn the key I am expected to have a driver's license, tag, and insurance. Once all of that is taken care of I can buckle up (another rule!) and begin to drive, but can I drive where I want? Certainly not! Though I might like to try the left side of the road, I am forced to drive on the right side of the road, and just as I get up to speed, the traffic light turns red and I have to stop. I could go on and on with rules about speed limits, solid yellow lines, turn signals, amount of tread on tires, parking regulations, and a host of other rules. Do you understand why I might think it is time to stop driving?

Of course I am not actually giving any consideration to giving up my license and selling my 1991 GMC Sonoma (though some family members think I should reconsider that last part), for despite all those “cumbersome, restrictive” rules I can still get in my automobile and drive places that are too far to walk. Not long ago I buckled up and drove on the right side of the road to West Virginia, and from there I went on to Ohio, before returning home to Alabama. Over a 2½ week period I traveled more than 2,000 miles despite a lot of rules. Did I say despite a lot of rules? Actually, it was the rules that made safe driving possible. Because the rules are made by flawed human beings, I am sure some of the rules of the road are unnecessary, but can you imagine driving in a world without any rules? How dangerous would it be to drive on roads with no traffic signals, no stop signs, no rules about right of way, no required directions of travel, etc.? I may not have liked the seat belt laws when they were first passed, but I have come to realize that they are for my good and would continue to wear my belt even if the law was changed.

Do you see where I am going with this? Many see the Bible as too many rules restricting what they can do, where they can go, what they can wear, how they are to worship, etc. and do not realize that in the words of Moses long ago, these things are commanded “for our good always” (Deuteronomy 6:24).

The number one reason for “obeying the rules” is the fact that eternal salvation is only for those who obey the Lord Jesus and do the will of the Father.

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” Hebrews 5:8, 9

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

But beyond the necessity of keeping the rules because we are commanded to do so, think about what a dangerous, cruel world it would be if no one kept the moral laws God has laid down for man. We may think it is a dog-eat-dog world now, but imagine a world where robbery, rape, and murder were not newsworthy crimes, but instead were normal behaviors by a society in which everyone did their own thing? Are God's laws regarding marriage, including the prohibition against divorce (with but one exception—Matthew 19:3–9) cumbersome restrictions or a great blessing and stabilizing force in society when they are respected?

            All of us are tempted to find God’s laws restrictive at times, but those restrictions can keep us from going to jail for DUI or possession of drugs. Those who obey the Lord’s teachings on sexual morality are never forced to make hasty decisions about marriage because of pregnancy and they never have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases. Yes, the Lord places some restrictions on my speech, but when I do guard my tongue the way He expects of me, I really don’t miss out on anything of value. Instead, I spare myself a lot of trouble caused by angry, hurtful speech.

Much like with the laws regulating driving, there are times I don’t understand why God has commanded something, but because He is not a flawed human there is this great difference—I may not understand it all, but I know it is for my good and it would be foolish to disobey.