I am halfway through the summer and I’m already missing school. I miss the kids! What I miss the most is not their cute little faces or their excuses as why their homework isn’t finished. No, what I really miss is listening to their chatter when they arrive in the classroom. They have no idea that my ears are focused on every word they are saying to each other. One second grader said to his buddy: “Our black cat ran away, and my dad can’t find him.” Then his buddy replied, “Oh yeah. That’s too bad. My grandma has a cat, his name is Fluffy.” And then the first kid says” “Oh yeah, what kind of cat is it?” And on and on and on. That conversation continued for the next 5 minutes. (I didn’t ask if they ever found the cat). Those conversations are real, honest, and simple.
HAVE WE GROWN UP?
Eventually children are socialized. Domesticated. They will learn when to speak, be responsible and orderly, and they will exhibit all the traits of a good citizen. Unfortunately, many Christians today have fallen into that same mold. They learn to follow the external rules, but neglect the inner working of the Holy Spirit. The question is, have we grown up or have we merely become “domesticated”?
AGAINST THE RULES
Now, please don’t misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with being a good citizen and following the rules, but Jesus never let the rules rule him. Michael Yaconelli says in his book “Dangerous Wonder”: It was Jesus who touched lepers, against the rules. It is Jesus who taught us how to break the rules. It was Jesus Who broke the Sabbath against the rules. (The Pharisees had thousands of rules against working on the Sabbath.) It was Jesus who forgave people of their sins, against the rules. (Adulterers were to be stoned, not forgiven.) Yaconelli goes on to say that most of us have spent our Christian lives learning what we can’t do instead of celebrating what we can do in Jesus.
THE EASIER WAY, TO MERELY FOLLOW THE RULES
I believe that is the easier way, to merely follow the rules and not to follow Jesus. When we have a list of rules in front of us, we know what we should do, where we should go, and how we are going to get there. But the more difficult way and the more biblical way, is to follow the example of Jesus. What is it in our lives that we are afraid to question? Is it our comforts, our possessions, our need for certainty, our fear of making a mistake? Is it our schedules or our careers?
WHO IS SETTING THE GUIDELINESS FOR YOUR LIFE?
These are all areas where we can easily follow the rules and not Jesus. Following Jesus requires faith, trust, and holy living. John says in John 1:12, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed on His name, He gave the right to become the children of God. When you became a Christian, you weren’t handed a manual that said how you must act; instead, you were handed a sword and were told to attack! Do you question how your life impacts others, do you ask Christ if you are doing what He intended for you, and finally, who is it that is setting the guidelines for your life?
THE MATURE WAY VERSUS THE EASY WAY
It comes natural to those 2nd graders to just talk about “dumb” things like domesticated cats, but they should grow and mature in their conversations. Someday they will question the rules that lie before them and decide which path they will travel. What about you? Have you decided to follow Jesus in a mature way rather than a domesticated, easy version of Christianity?