Chapter 2: Lies Women Believe About God
Day 4: The Law of Liberty
Lie #5: God’s Ways Are Too Restrictive
Imagine a world without laws! How quickly do you think we’d kill each other? It wouldn’t take long. While we’d like to think that humanity is basically good, let’s be honest: we’re not. We need laws to restrain us because our deepest desires are evil, not good. We’re each only about ourselves, and therefore, against others.
As we look at society, it’s easy for us to understand the importance and benefit of laws. But when we consider our relationship with God, we often struggle with this. If we’re under grace and have been set free from the law, why do we still have rules and restrictions and commands from God? The short answer: our own benefit!
Yes, we are under grace. But as Paul says in Romans 6, grace is not so we can sin whenever we want, but so that when we do fall short, we don’t have to stay there. We’ve died to sin; our relationship with sin is to be non-existent. The opposite of sin is righteousness; and righteousness is seen through our obedience.
In Galatians 5, Paul reminds us that we’ve been set free for the purpose of serving each other, not self-indulgence. The evidence of the Spirit of God in us is that we are now living in obedience, because obedience brings freedom.
It can be hard for us to wrap our minds around that. We tend to believe that freedom is doing whatever want; but that’s not the case. Freedom is not about self-indulgence. Let’s be real: before we knew Christ, we thought we were free becasue we could do whatever we wanted. But what was the result in our lives? Slavery. Bondage.
Freedom to eat whatever I want turns into bondage to food, health issues, and weight gain.
Freedom to drink alcohol as much as I want turns into an addiction.
Freedom to stay up all night turns into a headache and exhaustion the next day.
Freedom to date whoever, whenever and however I want turns into desperation, immorality, and abusive relationships.
Freedom to spend my money however I want turns into debt, bad credit, and being broke.
While there is technically “freedom to do what I want” it doesn’t necessarily lead to freedom; it actual leads to bondage, heartbreak, and pain.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before: You are free to choose but you are not free from the consequences of your choice. It’s true: and the problem with our beliefs about freedom is that we think freedom is about the front end, when it’s really about the end result. Freedom as a result requires some self-discipline now. But if I’m self-indulgent now, then I’ll not be able to experience the freedom I want.
God gives us direction, rules, restrictions and commands for our benefit. Like a parent who tells their child not to play in the street, the goal is not to keep us from fun, but to keep us safe and happy. Is it a restriction? Yes. But the end result is life, not death.
Ultimately, each command that God gives us comes down to life and death. If we are obedient, we experience LIFE, we experience freedom, joy, and peace. But if we are disobedient, we experience DEATH, pain, suffering, and heartache.
If we truly trust that God is good and He loves us, then we will submit to His direction in our lives, knowing that He has our best interests at heart. We must remember that God knows things we do not, he sees things we can’t, and we have to trust Him – which we show by our obedience. We talked about that some a few days ago when I shared how I learned about immediate obedience. It’s relevant here, as well. I may not see the snake over my head, but God does; it’s not my job to argue with Him, to try to know why before I obey. I just need to obey. And when I do, I live.
The Bible is full promises of great blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Why is this so? If God is loving, why does He send curses? Because He’s trying to protect us! Because our desires are too weak and we need better motivation.
We are rebels at heart. Peter Kreeft said, “The National Anthem of Hell is ‘I did it my way.'” We never really grow up from “the terrible twos,” we just get better and better at hiding it. When we receive rules and directions from God, we reveal our childish hearts as we argue, complain, and try to find a way around it.
Imagine how beautiful life could be if we just obeyed! If we could just rest in God’s power in our lives and simply do what we were created to – obey Him and love Him. We could safely play in the back yard, knowing He has it all under control.
But the nature of temptation is to focus on what we don’t have, so instead of focusing what we do have, we zero in on the prohibition until we find a way to get it, just as Eve focused on the one tree she couldn’t eat from rather than the countless others that she COULD enjoy.
So why does God call us to tithe? For our good! Our blessing! When we honor God by giving Him what is already His, He blesses us and provides for us.
Why does God call us to honor Him in our eating habits? For our health!
Why does He care who we date? Because He knows where it will go and He wants us to be happy, not stuck.
Sometimes you may not know what the end result will be of obeying God, but you can always know it will result in your benefit and freedom.
Turn your focus to Christ, and you’ll find that obeying Him is really not that hard; the things he requires of us are simply the natural overflow of our relationship with Him. The conflict comes in when we’ve decided we want something else, when we’ve focused on ourselves and our circumstances. So where are you going? Where are you looking? Take a step back and remember the goal.
“Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey…”
So what have you been arguing with God about? Will you surrender? Will you let Him be your father, trust His goodness and love, and find freedom?
Points to Remember:
- Obedience is the pathway to freedom.
- God’s ways are always for my benefit.
- Rebelling against God’s ways brings conflict and heartache.
- The nature of temptation is to focus on what I don’t have.
- I will never regret obedience to Christ.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.