“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.” Deuteronomy 11:18
One foot equals twelve inches. We all know that, but what if you decided the new measurement for a foot was the size of your own foot? How far would we get in building a functioning home or seeing who’s taller? Not far at all. Or what if at work we decided to use our own methods, create our own agenda, and focus on our own personal goals? How quickly would we get fired? Even in sports, we can’t make up our own rules and expect to play the game.
My point is this: a standard must be placed in order to have unity and functionality. Division stems from disagreement. Sports for example; although both teams are working towards their own victory, they agree on the set of rules created to play. The moment a player makes his own rules instead of following the ones made for the game he is disqualified and/or no longer looked at as a valued player.
God gave the Israelites a standard, His law, and He has passed that on to us, with a few upgrades. By “upgrades,” I don’t mean the old ones were replaced by new ones; instead, He raised the standard to initial laws given. For example, instead of "Don't commit adultery Jesus said that if you even look at a woman lustfully you commit adultery. Man, that’s tough. I’m nowhere near perfect, so that means on most days, I am an adulterer. James writes in his book, “The power of the tongue has the power of life and death.” If anyone knows me, they know I joke around often, too much at times. I know I’ve hurt people, I know I’ve said things I shouldn’t have, and I know I have taken life from others through my words. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not kept all of God’s commandments with integrity. I’ve committed so many errors from lying, stealing, cheating, coveting… etc I would be a hypocrite to act like I am okay.
That is a depressing reality. I can see why we might want to make our own rules, they would be easier to follow. Realizing how far I have fallen short makes me want to create my own agenda and pursue only the things that make me happy. It makes me want to forget everyone else and just focus on myself and my future.
Before we go down that road, lets look at David's life. He is a murder and an adulterer by law, yet in the bible is described as “a man after God’s own heart.” But how can that be? He saw a married woman bathing, called her over to his palace, slept with her, got her pregnant, and then put her husband on the front lines of war to ensure his death in order to cover up his sins. This is the man described after God’s own heart?
Well, that’s because the rules never make the man, they only expose him for who he is. God didn’t intend for His commandments to be our ultimate goal. In Romans, the author Paul talks about how the law exposes our flaws and shortcomings. The purpose of the law is actually to create greater unity between God and man. Our oneness with God is the true goal. He gave us a standard to play by; when we agree to it and live according to His Word, our relationship with Him is strengthened. The point of the law is to give us freedom, not to restrict us.
In 2006, the American Society of Landscape Architects did a research project where preschool students were taken to a playground without fencing. The same group was then taken to a playground with fencing, and the researchers then compared the children’s reactions in both parks. At the first playground, although it had no limitations, the children huddled together and played in only a small portion of the park. At the second playground, with fencing, the children ran from one corner to the other and played throughout the entire park.
God’s Word gives us the freedom to run and play in the park God has made for us. Creating our own rules doesn’t only take us out of the game, it also disconnects us from our purpose.
Let us not create our own rules. God’s will is perfect and good, and He wants us to discover that for ourselves. Let us live according to His standards. Let us find freedom in His Word, and let us have agreement and live in unity.