The Rules of Engagement

As a PE teacher I get to work alongside students and teach a variety of sports and activities. The variety of sports is quite diverse as are the rules that apply to each of them. When we mention rules, sometimes they are seen as stopping freedom, preventing us from “having fun” or sometimes they are “just a bore”. Imagine if we lined up two teams on a field, threw in a ball and let them play. Before long chaos was unfolding as one team were passing with their feet and kicking the ball into a large rectangular net and the other team were passing with their hands scoring by throwing the ball through a hoop on a pole. One team was being penalised for contact and the other team were penalised for picking up the ball. 

From my silly analogy you can see the virtue in rules. Rules enable us to understand how to play, how to win and how to keep safe. So it is too with following Jesus and God the Father. Some people say Christianity is just full of rules and stuff you can’t do. The fact is though, God gave us some rules to help us know how to keep safe, how to play the game and of course, how to win. The 10 commandments for example are rules that do just that. Do not kill helps to keep us safe. Do not lie, do not steal and do not commit adultery all help us to know how to play the game fairly, whilst, Honour your mother and father then you will live a long and full life in the land, gives us an example of how to win. 

Sometimes we see rules as restrictive but it is actually rules that give us freedom, it’s the boundaries that allow us to play the game with the expectations of how other players and teams are going to play as well. As I previously mentioned the challenge arises when the two teams are playing by two sets of rules and this is true in a christian sense as well. The worldly view is often self-focused whereas God’s view is others focused. God’s view is to live with your mind focused on eternity. The worldly view is live for the moment. How beautiful things would be if we all played by the same rules. How wonderful when we all play knowing what is required to keep us safe and to win the prize.
Colossians 2:20
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world
2 Timothy 2:5
And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.
So let’s see God for who and what He is, a creator who loves us enough to show us the best way to live, choose if we play the right way or not, and ultimately win the eternal prize. 

Michael Drew

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