Living the Good LifeApril 19, 2023
Growing up, it was always very easy for me to become frustrated with rules. “It would be so much better if I could just do what I want to do,” thought my young and immature self. If you are a mom, I’m sure you get this response from your kids as well. But, what happens when you finally let your kids do what they desire? Oftentimes, they get hurt or hurt something else, right? God, the Father, is not a tyrannical parent. In fact, He is much more gracious and loving than any earthly parent is toward their children. The Lord places rules and guidelines to live by not to restrict us or take away our freedom, though we may feel that way. Rather, He gives us commands and virtues to live by for our good and for real freedom.
Let’s take a look at a few verses where we are told this is true. First is Deuteronomy 6:24 which says, “and the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day”. The second place we will look at is 1 John 5:3 which states, “for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome”.
What do these verses tell us about the character of God? They tell us that He is good and gentle and lowly. In other words, God does not give what burdens but what liberates. He is a God who desires our safety. He is also a jealous God, who requires that we worship Him and only Him. Thus, He’s placed commandments and rules for living in a manner worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 1:27). Truly loving God means we fear Him.--We see Him as worthy of all praise and worship. We see ourselves as unworthy and in need of Him.--Thus, we fear Him. “Fear” here does not mean that we are frightened by Him or scared of Him, rather it means that we stand in awe of Him and respect and honor Him. And because the Father has shown His love to us by sending His Son, Jesus, to sacrifice His life for us in order to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness, we love Him (1 John 4:19).
Ever heard a teenager say that their parents are “taking their life away”? This can be our thought when reading the life that God calls us to live in His Word. But, God, our loving Father, does not give us commands so that we lose out on the “fun” things in life. In fact, Ecclesiastes informs us of the fact that God desires us to enjoy life (Ecclesiastes 8:15; 9:7-9). Deuteronomy 6:24 also tells us that He gives us commandments so that we might have our life preserved, not taken away. In other words, his commands are life-giving. We find true freedom in being in Christ. So, if being in Christ means we are called to live in a particular way, it means that particular way to live is a freeing way to live. Thus, John in 1 John 5:3 reminds us that God gives us commands that are not burdensome, but for our good. He does not restrict our lives, but instead gives them real meaning and purpose. It is one thing to do something enjoyable, but the enjoyment of something is generally taken to a new level when it is enjoyable and purposeful and good!
As christian women, we might look very different from the world. Being a college student who strives to follow the Lord and His commandments, I live a life that looks much different than many other college girls. I had a friend who was at a different college, living a different lifestyle, and interested in learning more about christianity, ask me once if I ever felt like I am “missing out on life” because I don’t drink until I’m drunk, do drugs, or go to parties and find new boys. My answer to her was “not at all”. The reason for my answer? I know there may be temporary “fun” there, but the permanency of the joy that can be found in living the life commanded by God and the pain endured when living my own way far exceeds the temporary thrills. That lifestyle does not give life. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, but in fact told her that she was the one who is missing out because there is true enjoyment in life when Christ is the center of her life and following God’s commands becomes a delight (Psalm 119:14, 16, 24, 32, 35, 47-48, 97, 113).
So let us strive together to be women of the word and women of the commandments and let us show the younger girls and other women watching us that we miss out on nothing when we follow the Lord’s commands. In fact, there is ultimate joy found in following the Lord’s commandments because they are for our good and not burdensome. May we say with the Psalmist, “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end” (Psalm 119:111-112).