How to Get Out of Obeying the Rules

I’m normally a pretty law-abiding citizen. I believe, as I’m sure you do, that honoring the authorities God has placed over us in turn honors Him. But I admit that there are some laws I really wish I didn’t have to obey.

Take, for example, the speed limit. I’d get out of being subject to that one, if I could. I’d much rather choose the speed I want to go than abide by a limit that is usually (in my opinion, at least) much too slow.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the authorities really care what I want, at least as far as this matter is concerned. The speed limit law remains in place whether I like it or not, and it’s not likely to be repealed anytime soon.

So I guess I’m stuck with obeying it. Because I also can’t figure out a way to make Timmy’s “getting out of undesirable requirements” strategy work in my case. Let me tell you what he did recently, beginning with a little background.

On the wall of our kitchen, we have a white board (dry erase board). When there’s something we need to remember, such as which child received which medication at which time, we write it down on the board. It’s a cheap, convenient way to keep track of things that are temporarily important.

Occasionally, my husband will write a list of chores on the board that he wants the kids to be sure to accomplish that day. Timmy knows Phil does this. One day, Phil entered the kitchen to find the white board blank. The grocery list he’d written was no longer there. “Who erased the grocery list from the white board?” he asked.

Timmy glanced at him and sheepishly said, “I did.”

“Why did you do that?” Phil asked.

“Because I thought they were chores and you were going to make me do one of them,” Timmy said.

That’s actually some pretty good thinking, for a four-year-old who will turn five in a couple months. If you see something you believe is a list of things that you don’t want to do, and you are afraid you might get assigned to do one or more of them, then you just erase the list! Bingo—no more chores! Right?

You and I, as moms, realize that it doesn’t work like this. If it had been a list of chores that Timmy erased, they wouldn’t have ceased to be necessary just because they were no longer written where he could see them. We’re amused by Timmy’s strategy because we know better.

Which doesn’t explain why we try something very similar when we don’t want to obey one of God’s laws.

How many of us who, like me, dislike speed limits, simply ignore them and drive whatever speed we think we can drive without getting caught? How many of us ignore the fact that God says we should speak kindly to one another, justifying our harsh or critical words by saying we’ve had a bad day? How many of us eat whatever we want, whenever we want, because we don’t want to face the Bible’s teachings on gluttony?

Yeah. We’re starting to sound more and more like Timmy, aren’t we?

You know what? Ignoring God’s laws doesn’t make them go away. Keeping them from our conscious awareness doesn’t mean we’re not guilty when we transgress them. The Holy Spirit wants us to feel guilty at the right times so that we can correct whatever is going wrong. Silencing His voice is just as bad for us spiritually as ignoring intense pain would be for us physically.

Is there something in your life that you continue to do, knowing that you really shouldn’t? Have you traded the spiritual joy of doing God’s will for the fleeting pleasure of having your own way?

God has already made His list and written it where you can see it, if you’re willing to look.

Don’t erase the white board.

James 1:25—But the one looking intently into the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continuing in it, not being a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in his work. (MGT)

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