Growing up, I was raised as a Christian. A lot of people today, mainly non-believers, will try to challenge me on my faith with saying “You are only a Christian today because your parents raised you like that. You are just following your Mother’s footsteps.” And in a lot of ways, yeah, they’re right. That is how it happened. I was raised in a strict Christian household and had to follow a lot of rules. I would watch my friends at school go do all these “cool” things, like go to dances, watch R-rated movies, and I was the one at home who had to stay in and watch a good clean Disney movie, or even worse, re-runs of Little House of the Prairie. Life was tough as a kid… So, I thought.
It wasn’t until way later that I started understanding my mother’s, what seemed like at the time, “crazy ways.” When you are a parent, or any guardian of some sort, you make rules for your children. You don’t do it just for the sake of telling them what to do, but to help guide them and protect them. As a protector, you know better than them and know what will harm them so you give them boundaries to keep their path in the right direction. Rules are really an act of love.
It is the same thing with God. He doesn’t have rules for us to follow just to say “You can’t do this”, it is saying “choose an alternative way.” We aren’t suppose to avoid things, we are suppose to take the alternative road that leads to life! God loves us so much and is trying to protect us. As OUR protector, he knows better than us and even if some of these “rules” don’t make sense to us, we need to remember that He knows more and is doing it out of love. God is broken-hearted for us when we sin because he wants freedom for us.
Think about when you are driving down a road and there are guard rails. What purpose are those serving? They aren’t there just to say ” You can’t go off the track.” They are there to help guide you to stay on the right path to protect you.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but ends in death.
The only way to fully understand God’s good intentions, and to understand His love for us, is to get to know Him. There are so many people that have turned away from God because they never got to know Him and would just try to live a religious rule-based life. That doesn’t work! That causes people to rebel against God because they are constantly feeling condemned every time they mess up. I remember I had a friend who turned away from God and the moment he made that decision, he said “I was afraid to leave my house because I thought God was going to kill me.” When he said that, it broke my heart. That is proof right there that he didn’t know Jesus at all.
God doesn’t send down a bolt of lightning when we mess up. He is a God of Love and mercy. He knows we will mess up and when we do, He isn’t angry. He is still there with open arms saying “come home.”
Luke 15:21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Saying that, God isn’t forcing anyone to Follow him. God has given every one of us a choice. You can choose to obey or you can choose to disobey. He also promises you will be rewarded if you follow his path.
Deuteronomy 15: 15-16 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
The decision is yours!