Recently while visiting a church, I heard several devotionals and sermons about rules.
They spoke of the dangers of getting too close to the cliff.
I could only think of a few (not just one) of my sons who wouldn’t hesitate to stand or even fly over that cliff, and not see a single thing wrong with it. Don’t we all want to fly?
The analogy to sin would be lost to them, and maybe me. What’s wrong with a challenge? 
But sin’s challenge becomes an enslavement that, rather than frees you to fly, binds you so you crash at the bottom. I understood his point.
Another speaker reminded the congregation that the rules must be followed or there’s consequences, even if you don’t know the rules.
But what I found missing from all these reminders was the why.

I want my child to learn my rules, not just to be safe and avoid punishment, but because those things (like cleaning up after himself), help him to get along with everyone around him. People then like him.
I don’t want my child to follow my rules because he fears “the rod.” Although when they were small, that was all they understood. Explaining to them the why would not have helped.
But most of all I want my boys to obey the rules because he loves me.


Recently I was reviewing the rules of using commas with one of the boys. He wanted to add a comma after every word.
The meaning of the sentence was destroyed. The purpose of the rule was not to be restrictive (YOU MUST PAUSE NOW), but so people can pause, catch their breath, and understand what we are saying. (We don’t want people hyperventilating while reading our sentences.)
Some of the grammar rules are different, depending on whether you live in the United States or United Kingdom, for example: color or colour; honor and honour, realize or realise.
And just by following the comma rules, we do not become “good writers.”
Our mechanics of writing may be correct, but that doesn’t equate to all that’s involved in good writing.

Yet don’t we do that with the rules in the Bible?
If we follow “these,” than that shows I’m a good, obedient Christian.
We are only following the comma rules, and yet we think we are like Christ!
How God must laugh at our foolishness!

In the same manner, some of the “rules” found in the Bible are rather restrictive. When the sons of Israel took over their promised land, God told them to kill everyone: women and children included. Why? God told them, so they wouldn’t become like them.
They got tired of destroying utterly. Shouldn’t they show mercy?
But God knew better, even after telling them the why. The sins of those people brought God’s judgement.
Later, God said to Israel. “You’ve become like those you allowed to live.”
God demanded justice. He allowed His own people to be taken away by a pagan country.


I want my boys to know the why of God’s rules.
What was missing with the generation prior to the “hippy” generation?
That generation knew God’s rules, but they didn’t know the why. When their children asked, “Why?” they had no answer. They responded, “Because I said so.” Without the why, the children forsook the rules and the generation of “do my own thing” resulted.
When my boys were younger, I didn’t always tell them the reason for the rule.
They didn’t have the reasoning ability to understand. But when they matured, I would explain them.
When they were little, they had to eat at the table. (Why?) To confine the mess.
Now they are older, and more likely not to spill and leave a mess, so they eat where they want. [I do caution at times because of our ant population enjoys finding cups left to decay under beds.] The rule is no longer needed because they clean up after themselves.
I also try to minimize my rules. After all, a rule must be enforced. The less I have to yell, the greater my joy.

Simon came to Peter asking to buy the Spirit’s power. Simon had been baptized. He had followed the rules like everyone else. But he followed the rules to get this power for his own use. He could get others to obey his rules and control them.
Peter rebuked him, “May your silver perish with you. . .  For your heart is not right before God” (Acts 8:4-24). His reason to follow the rules was wrong.

Simon’s heart wasn’t right. But what if yours is right. And you are striving to follow God’s rules. What happens? By following the rules, you look at yourself and think, “I’m doing pretty good. In fact, I’m better than that person other there. He doesn’t even know the rule.”

Know what you are doing?
Following a rule, not following God. Are you any better than Simon?
Checking off your list of rules and knowing you are doing them doesn’t make you right with God. It makes you right with your self-made list.
God’s list is holiness. Are you there yet?
I’m not. Nor apart from God’s grace and help will I ever be.
But I’m not looking at the rules.
I'm looking at Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. . . .”

I don’t read the Bible looking for rules to obey. Nor do I live my life afraid of the consequences of disobeying God’s rules, known or unknown to me.
I read the Bible to know God.

By knowing God and seeking to please Him, He shows me things I should do to please Him.
Rules are by-product of my desire to know Him.

You can call them rules, but sometimes they are for me and only me to obey. He doesn’t tell everyone they shouldn’t eat so much. If I ate as much as my husband, I would cease to be human and would be more like a cow. That “application” of discipline is for me to follow, not my husband.
I don’t consider it unfair that his metabolism runs like an electric current, and my runs like the sap of a maple tree in the dead of winter. That’s how God made me. And I work to praise Him for that, as I try not to eat so much.
See how the application of a rule works?

Other times, the rule is clear. It applies to all. “Do not kill.” That brings justice. Because all reap the consequences of that rule. Whether they obey it or not may show how much they know and want to please God.

I’m not a cliff hanger—going as close as I can to the cliff where I know sin waits. But my sin nature draws me to the cliff. Don’t you want to know what’s over there?
What keeps me from falling over the cliff is not my discipline, my own goodness, or even my righteousness.
I have none.
What keeps me from looking at that cliff is Who I want to please.
I look to God. He keeps me away from the cliff.
He does the work in me. I just seek His Face.
Is it easy? Not always. I’m too easily distracted. I focus on now, not eternal. I focus on me, not God. I focus on…you name it, anything. And that’s when I get close to that cliff, in fact many times I fall over it. But that’s when God brings me back again. And forgives and reminds me, “Look at Me.”

I don’t need the cliff’s challenge.
I don’t see any rules.

I want to bring God pleasure, not by staying away from the cliff or following rules, but by walking so close to God that I do what He wants every time, all the time without needing to be told, because I know Him.

Displaying 1 comment

Thank you, this was enlightening in spike of all the rules we have in place today. Following sealing and turning to God is all we need to keep us on his path. i truly enjoy reading your blogs.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Find more articles about faith here:
How Miserable Are You? Are You Happy?
The Need for Meaning Even in Pain
Reminders of What's Important
God's Unmeasurable Love
A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country
What Were You Thinking?
Who Are You Watching?
Boundaries for a Better Life
God's Boundaries
Memories of a Hero Mom
The Ripple Effect
How Do We Think Like Jesus
Litany of a Waiting Woman
Ever Cook a Frog?
New Year's Reminders
They Galled Her Gammy
When God Speaks
A Russian Christmas Story
Be Thankful
Be Grateful
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
Laughter—Why Laugh?
Are You Disturbed?
Unity of the Brothers
Encouragements To Declutter
Do You Have Too Much Stuff?
Too Much Stress
Getting Past the Noise—The Value of Silence
Are You Scatterbrained?
How Good Are You?
Looking for Something Good To Read?
A Cup of Cold Water
I Will Trust When I Cannot See
Encouragement—What Is It?
Being in God's Presence
"Einstein and the Professor"
When God Is Silent
Do You Crave Beauty?
Using Stories to Discipline
The Danger of the Wrong Story
Using Stories to Teach Lessons
God is in charge of the future
November Dare Joy Challenge
Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Looking for Jesus
What Do Your Prayers Reflect?
Life's Little Pleasures
Daniel—Greatly Loved by God
Take Every Thought
Jars of Clay
What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
How Do You Get Strong Faith?
Too Busy for God's Word?
How Do You Think Like Jesus?
Reflections from a Mom
Pain—What's It Good For?
Why Marry?
Consider the Robin
One Life Who Made a Difference
What Day Are You Living In?
Interrupted by God
Is Jesus Really the Answer to Everything?
Are You Beat Up?
What's Your Hurry?
Are You a Manipulator?
Are You Salty?
Are You Condemned?
Trying to Understand?
Do You Expect Answers to Your Prayers?
Do You Eat Your Stress?
Need Focus?
Going through Trouble?
Immanuel—God with Us
Looking for a Relationship?
When God Says, "No!"
What Do You Do with Left-Overs?
How Great Is Your God?
Are You Needy?
How Do You See Sin?
What Do Your Words Mean?
Is Evil Overwhelming You?
Those Aha Moments
Is Your Soul Happy?
Are You Ignored?
Looking for the God Moment
Do You Know Truth from Almost Truth?
I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
Less Is More
Singing His Praise
Are You Trying To Do It All?
What Do You Do with All These Prayer Requests?
Have a Problem?
Do You Know How to Pray?
Looking for God in Every Moment
Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Tell the Senate: Mothers Aren't Birthing People
Is Your Life Complicated?
How Do We Fight Evil?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Giving Up or Taking Away
the Bible is simple
Are You a Dripping Faucet?
What's Your Testimony?
The Final Move
Be Careful What You Wish For!
Are Your Prayers Answered?
I Choose Joy
What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
Who Are You Trying to Change?
What's Your Five-Year Plan?
The Danger of "Aloneness"
My Colors
Are You a Whiner?
Are Your Works Approved?
Do You Think You're Stressed?
Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
God Speaks to the Heart of the King
What about the Details?
Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
How Does God Lead You?
Do You Have Enough?
Don't Carry More than You Need
Cast the Seed
God Is Faithful
Are You Deceived?
Are You Essential?
Are You Safe?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
Does the World Make Sense?
Have You Seen God's Majesty?
Do You Feel Judged?
If You Only Had One More Day To Live
Are You Understood?
Do You Long for the Word of God?
Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
Are You Hospitable?
Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Are You Disturbed?
Are You Depressed?
I Did It My Way
Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
The Simple Life
Do You Have the Right Words?
Did Your Dream Die?
On the Other Side of the Fence
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Saving for Tomorrow
A Wedding Remembered
Who Will Stand in the Gap?
Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
Who Are You?
Are You an Image Bearer or a Wad of Cells?
Are You a Watchman?
Where Do You Find Meaning?
The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
What Love Is This?
Remember: The Symbols of Passover Explained
Tea and Rest
Do You Have Peace?
What Makes a Marriage Work?
When Life Is Awful
Are You Strong Enough?
Be Faithful through Suffering
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
What in the World Is Happening?
It's Not My Story
How Would Your Faith Compare?
Are You Sinking?
Are You a Rule Follower?
Useful for Him
An Intimate Moment with Mary
The Worldview that Makes the

Thoughts to Ponder
What Does It Take To Know the
    Heart of God?

See the Story in the Stars
Do the Scriptures Burn You?
Being in His Presence
Contentment: It's Not for the Timid
How Secure Are You?
How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
The Earthworm Is My Hero
Heart Issues or Issues of the Heart
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
More faith articles are found here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Special Days
Remember: The Symbols of 
   Passover Explained

Aug 12, 2017 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
July 4th, Freedom
What Is an American Soldier?
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men
Fall Colors
First Thanksgiving Day

Christmas: Stories behind the Songs
Christmas: Stories behind the Songs, part 2

Find other articles about motherhood
What's a Mom?
Memories of a Hero Mom
They Called Her Gammy
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
Who's Responsible for the Children
The Battle for Our Children
​Dear Master of Hands
Close to Home
Reflections from a Mom
Just the Mother-In-Law
A Mom Who Knew Her Job
Letting Go of my Fourth Son
Making a House a Home
How Do I Pray?
Picking up Acorns
Changed by God
Last Times
Are You a Failure?
What To Do Now?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
What's in a Book, Anyway?
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
You Are Not Alone
A Wedding Remembered
Sunday Morning Excuses—Is It Worth It?
Stages of Parental Control
Homeschooling Myths Debunked
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
A Day in a Mom's Life
What Talents Are You Wasting as a Mom?
What Have I Learned as a Mom?

What's in It for Me?
Adoption—The Heart of God

The Making of a Man part 4
The Making of a Man part 3
The Making of a Man part 2
The Making of a Man
Are Your Children Safe from Bullying?
Are Your Children Safe from Child-napping and Sexual Abuse?
Are Your Children Safe?
The Value of Remembering
Marjorie Rutherford: A Testimony to God's Faithfulness
Marjorie Conrad: A Testimony to God's Trustworthiness
Starting School Again
Dependence or Independence?
Breast Milk Made Especially for Your Child
What Is Essential for Babies?
My Space, My Time, My Needs
What's a Mom?
A Mother's Influence
A Mother of Boys
Prepare for the Lord: Thoughts for Moms from Exodus 19


Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

Receive weekly articles by giving your email address below: