God of Do’s, Not Don’ts
It would be easy to conclude that God is all about “Don’ts.” Listening to preachers, parents and misinformed media, you’d think God wants to stop us from pretty much everything that is appealing, limiting us to activities that put our teeth on edge.
Perhaps that is a bit harsh, but, c’mon, haven’t you ever felt that way?
Look at God’s ultimate top 10 list delivered by Rev. Moses to a people living in desert tents, eating flour that miraculously appeared each morning with the dew. (Deuteronomy 5:6-21). There are only two “Do’s” in the bunch.
In our relationship with God,
Don’t… have any other gods, worship any idols, misuse God’s name
Do… keep the Sabbath holy
In our relationships with other people,
Don’t …murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, covet.
Do… honor your parents, (which, as a parent I’ve come to embrace and lovingly exhort my children to follow God by keeping the commandment. They love me for it).
So is it that God is holding out on us by restricting us with all these don’ts? Is He trying to squelch our desires, desires that he hard-wired into us at creation?
No, no, no. God is the God of Do’s! Because behind every don’t is a bigger do.
Take a look at the list above. Why the first 3 don’ts? So we can experience the bigger do of a relationship with the real God of the Universe, discovering the meaning and fulfillment that only He provides. It is what we were created for and what only He can deliver.
Take a look at the other 5 don’ts. What are those about? So we can have healthy relationships with other people. We have to get the unhealthy barriers out of the way before we can experience the incredible value. I mean, if you murder your friend, what are the real chances of ever building a lasting friendship. And before you get too smug (“Well, I never murdered anyone”), move to the New Testament and gander at the explanations Jesus gave. Murder = anger. Adultery = lust. On and on it goes.
REALITY: when we settle for doing the don’ts, we miss what brings meaning. The don’ts are counterfeits, fakes, empty promises that provide a momentary rush, and lasting guilt. Not a good deal. But by obeying the don’ts we swim past the shallows to experience the exhilaration of the big waves of God’s great blessings. God is the God of do’s. Let me say it again, behind every don’t is a bigger do.
C.S. Lewis in “The Weight of Glory”, (Copyright 1949, C.S. Lewis Pte.Ltd), says it this way,
“…Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
WOW! “far too easily pleased.” Trespassing the don’ts, we forfeit the depth of the do’s.
The apostle Paul discovered it.
"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" Phil 3:8 (NIV)
Is it possible you and I need to work harder at mining it out as well?