“Everything is permissible. Not everything is beneficial.”
1 Corinthians 10:23
As believers, we live under the covenant of grace, therefore the law is already fulfilled in our hearts through Jesus Christ. Everything is permissible. Yet still, under this same covenant of grace, it’s not all beneficial.
I was musing over this today, asking Jesus to show me His thoughts on this. Well, color me surprised when He started to talk back and show me His heart on this.
I have rules for my children. A series of things I believe they should do and a series of things they shouldn’t. Realistically, they don’t HAVE to obey my rules. They choose to. If my kids were to break every single one of my rules, I would still love them (though probably not like them very much — I am after all human) I would still feed them, clothe them and provide them and I would undoubtedly continue to make myself available. My love is unconditional, despite their choice to obey or disobey.
And honestly, the rules I set for my children are less for my own good and more for theirs. Any guideline or rule I set in place is for their good. My kids, for example, don’t have to brush their teeth (when I say don’t have to, I am 100% referring to their *choice* in obeying or disobeying. yes. One of our “rules” is brushing teeth, y’all). They really don’t. Realistically, the could walk around, never brushing their teeth and they would live. CPS wouldn’t be called on me. But, I definitely encourage, guide and tell my children to brush their teeth. It’s beneficial for my children to practice good oral hygiene. Why? Because they won’t be known as the kid with stinky breath, or they’ll get to *keep* all their teeth or because believe it or not, oral hygiene affects the digestive system, etc, etc. They should brush their teeth. They’re asked to brush their teeth. But, they don’t have to.
My kids, for another example, don’t have to listen when I tell them not to touch a hot stove. Heck, they haven’t at one point or another. They’ve touched the very thing I’ve told them not and natural consequences have quickly taught them, it’s better to obey than to disobey.
God is the same way. He gives us the choice. We don’t have to follow the rules He sets in place to earn His love or His favor. We really don’t. He’s a Daddy, it’s who He is. But as a Daddy, who’s eternal, the author of truth, and the Creator of our hearts, He knows the things that are good for us and the things that aren’t. He tells us not to forsake the assembly of the saints (Hebrews 10:25) because He knows that no man is an island and isolation tends to breed pride and just general funkyness in thought process. Accountability to one another with the Word produces godly character and helps keep us grounded. He tells us to avoid sexual immorality, because He sees how fragile the human heart is and the value He places on it is unsurpassed. He knows that despite our greatest efforts to flippantly toss around our sexuality, at our core, we long for true intimacy and genuine love that comes in the commitment of marriage.
He guides us. Gives us “rules and commands” that we can choose to imperfectly obey by the grace of His Holy Spirit or we can choose to disobey, not because out of them flow any kind of special award or prize, but because as a Daddy, He loves (adores) His little children, and He wants to give them life and life abundant.
Our Father God loves us. Deeply and intimately. And He guides us with His commands, not because we need to earn anything, but because in them, He breathes and provides abundant life.
When we start to really truly relate to God as our Father, we will embrace the guidance of the Holy Spirit in every area of our life. Including obedience. We will filter His commands through the filter of love and affection instead of demand and religion. And then, we will truly live.