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1 Timothy 1:5-8
5 “But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6 Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not understand what they are saying or the things they insist on so confidently. 8 But we know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately.”
“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.”
Here it is a Monday again. The day-in, day-out drudgery of the work week awaits us as we open our eyes to a new week. Well, that is one perspective. Another viewpoint is one of gratitude. Today is Labor Day and today I thank God for the gift of work and for a mission He has called each of us to. We are blessed to have work and blessed to be able to work. Work is one of the occupations God gave us to do in His sovereign wisdom that sometimes our flesh resists, much like the laws He has in place, which is the topic today for all of us rule breakers at heart.
Laws. Deemed as spoilers by some, a means to judge others or of self-righteousness to some, and to still others a moment of grace – of seeing our need for salvation once we see within ourselves the inability to perfectly adhere to God’s law.
Everywhere there are signs of mankind’s desire for no limits. What is it about rules that sparks a seed of rebellion in our hearts and deceives a people? To some, breaking rules seems like freedom. We are doing what we want to do. Or are we? The irony of submitting to our fleshly desires is that in doing what we want to do, we become a taskmaster for our own destruction.
The limits set in place by an all-wise, all-knowing God are intended for our benefit. In our deception we strive for what we perceive is a thing of beauty – no accountability, no hindrance of following someone else’s idea, and yet that pursuit is what becomes our prison, after all.
It is so beautiful that the aim of God’s laws and instruction is love. God is not a spoiler of fun. Sin destroys us and He wants us to be in relationship with Him – not separated from Him. He hates to see us suffer from poor choices made at the altar of the gods of self and pleasure.
We are all subject to God’s laws, universal and spiritual, whether or not we want to be. No one escapes the law of gravity, and while some might escape the consequences of disobeying civil or spiritual laws for a season, seared consciences are the penalty borne and ultimately all deeds will be judged by the Perfect law maker and giver, Jesus Christ.
A rule breaker can be deemed as “cool” by the world and a rule keeper seen as “prudish”, but it is how one keeps the law that matters. Just as rebellion is not acceptable in the sight of God, neither is legalism. Rationalizing which rules are important and which ones are not also does not change the premise of walking in the liberty of following God’s laws regarding ethics, big or small laws.
Our flesh does not like to be held accountable or to have to conform to someone else’s plan, and yet His plan is best. We want our way, and yet God beautifully has designed a structure of leadership and accountability that ultimately provides care for those who will submit to His leadership.
People can use laws for their own ends, manipulating the original intent in an attempt to justify their actions. But inside a voice cries out for truth and righteousness if we listen. Breaking rules does not bring the peace of God nor satisfy the heart cry of our soul. God’s loving and perfect laws are safe boundaries He designed that are kept and fulfilled only by the grace of God.
Lord, thank you for revealing our need for your salvation. Help us to love the boundaries You have so wisely set in our lives. May we resist the flesh and live lives for Your glory.