[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S [/dropcap]omething that has been a lifelong, running theme in my life has come up again, so I want to share it as I hope it benefits anyone who may read it –

I’ve been deeply reminded (again) of how this life is about each individual’s relatioship with his/her Creator. God has called us into communion with Him, and in that place, a relationship of love and intimacy is created. When I was a little girl, I knew that I loved God and because of that I did not want to do anything that would hurt His heart. I got called a “goody two shoes,” “good girl,” “perfect,” “rule-keeper who never did anything wrong,” etc. Friends of mine (fellow church goers) would say, “oh, you can’t say that around her because she’s a preacher’s kid.” And they would attribute my goody two shoes to who my dad was, how quiet I was, or that I was just not a rebellious rule breaker. Yet people didn’t understand that it wasn’t the case. I just truly did not want to disobey God, because I didn’t want to hurt His heart. I had no desire to do all the things that caused harm or were signs of disobedience.  And now that I have my own kids, I teach them the same. I tell my son that we don’t lie or hit or scream at each other, because we love God and we want to please His heart. I don’t want my kids doing good just to keep rules or just to not get in trouble. I want them to live lives that glorify God because they love Him. When we love someone, we want to please them. It honors God when we obey His Word.

Yet if we go a step beyond that, we need to also say that obeying God’s Word keeps us out of a lot of trouble. He didn’t set a book of rules up just to make life boring and no fun. He did it to keep us from hurting ourselves and each other.

I feel like our society, including the church, has forgotten that God set laws/rules in place for our benefit. The ten commandments were set up for the Israelites’ benefit, not just so they would live under strict rules that they couldn’t keep. The rules were there to keep their lives in order, and yes, God knew that they would need help to do that. So in His great love, He sent Jesus to accomplish all that He did through His death and resurrection, so that we could come into perfect fellowship with God. And on top of that, the Holy Spirit then comes to dwell in us so that He can give us both the desire and the will to not do the things that our sinful flesh would do otherwise. God, the Father, has set it up to enable us to live lives of abundance if we will choose to walk within His grace and ability, and if we will choose to honor Him with our actions and choices.

There is so much in this world that is not beneficial to us. People can argue about what you can and can’t do, but they forget to ask the serious question of but is it beneficial for you to do it? You could argue with someone who claims that they can smoke and will go to heaven, but the fact is that they’ll probably get there a lot sooner than non-smokers and they have a higher chance of offending a lot of people in the meanwhile. Will they be held responsible for those that they caused to stumble? Some will argue yes and some no. Yet regardless of anyone’s opinion, the main point is that nothing about smoking is beneficial to a person’s body. And I just chose smoking as an example. Insert whatever you’d like. My husband and I recently took a break from watching any movies for one month, and then once the month was over, we decided to return to our Friday night movie night. And it just so happened that we chose one dud of a movie to watch. At the end of it, we were both saddened at the giant waste of time  and we agreed to not do that again. We’ve decided that for our own benefit we’re going to be strict on ourselves regarding which movies we choose. Yet that’s an easy situation for us as we’re not big TV watchers to begin with. But it just seems to be an ongoing theme in life right now . . .

So the point is that God desires intimacy and closeness with us, and He doesn’t want to see us hurting ourselves or others. It grieves my heart so much when my kids make choices that hurt themselves or each other, because they could have avoided the hurt. It doesn’t make me love them any less, and I don’t treat them any differently for it. I just want more for them. I want them walking in love, joy, peace, and happiness. God wants the same for us.

So most days, I now ask myself if the attitude or the criticism or the judgment that I’m tempted to take on is beneficial to me or the recipient? And you can guess the answer. Yet the funny thing is that I have stayed much more relaxed and peaceful since asking myself that question. Funny how God works . . . He’s wonderfully smart. He’s a good Daddy. 🙂

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