Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. (Psalm 119:105-106, ESV)
There’s a saying that rules are made to be broken. But is this really true? Do we even want it to be true? Would we enjoy living in a world without rules, regulations, or laws? I doubt we would. Societies cannot function properly without policies and laws. Neither can lives.
Why do rules matter? Rules protect us; they keep us safe. They show us the right thing to do.
A World Without Rules
While we may think it would be great if we could do whatever we want without restrictions, it is doubtful we would want others to enjoy that same freedom. Imagine trying to drive without traffic laws. Or what if we had no police or a court system to control criminal activity. Without laws, governments cannot function on behalf of the citizenry. Schools, businesses, organizations—even families—cannot perform effectively without some system of guidelines or policies? A world without laws and regulations would be chaotic. Rules bring order to our world and to our lives.
Parents want their child to learn discipline. I don’t mean discipline in the sense of punishment, but discipline in the sense of learning self-control, restraint in their actions. We want them grow into mature, responsible adults. God desires that we, His children, learn self-discipline and to obey His commandments. Psalm 119:105 says that His Word is a lamp that will light our path and show us the way.
The Blessings of God’s Word
Psalm 119 begins by telling us the person who walks in the law of the Lord and who seeks Him with his whole heart is blessed. This person is a rule keeper because he realizes God gave us these commandments as a protection. They guide our steps and allow us to walk in peace. Look at just a few of the things this psalm tells us God’s Word will do in our lives when we choose to embrace its principles.
- It keeps us from sin (verse 11).
- It opens our eyes to wondrous things (verse 18).
- It keeps us from covetousness and vanity (verses 36-37).
- It leads us to mercy and salvation (verse 41).
- It offers comfort in affliction (verse 50).
- It teaches good judgment and knowledge (verse 66).
- It gives us a heritage (verse 111).
The more I study the Word, the more I appreciate the safeguards God set in place to protect us. God is not trying to make our lives difficult by putting a heavy burden of demands on us. In His wisdom, He provides boundaries, guidelines—rules, if you will—not because He is harsh and controlling but because He loves us so much. First John 5:3 assures: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (ESV). Another translation of this verse says His commandments do not “weigh us down” (NET).
Like David in Psalm 119, I choose to commit myself to being a rule keeper. I realize that following the Lord’s commands will bring blessings and favor into my life.
Thank You, Lord, for loving me deeply and giving me Your Word to safely guide me though life. It will save me, protect me, lead me, and ultimately allow me to live with You eternally.