One of the biggest themes of Christianity is our withdrawal from certain behaviors, activities, and engagements. The Bible lays out a perfect image of what we should and should not do as children of God and human beings. Yet many people find it hard to understand why these rules exist. Many people have adapted a pretty negative view on this–observing God as some strict, dictating, cold, distant entity who enjoys bossing us wee humans around.
But this nasty depiction and incorrect view of the Lord stems from a misunderstanding. The clearest example of a list of rules within the Bible is the Ten Commandments. Beyond that, the New Testament lays down lots of guidelines and advice for how we should live as Christians.
Just a few of the things we are often told not to engage in are:
- Idolatry, witchcraft, false doctrines
The list goes on. Some of those things the majority of people will agree that no person should ever engage in. But what about seemingly harmless things like cursing, gossiping, lying? What about sex? Why shouldn’t someone be allowed to drink what they wanted? Why regulate those things? Wouldn’t a person be happier if they could engage in the things that make them happy? If God loves us, why does He tie us down like that?
Sometimes even the confused believer will ask these questions. People have developed this view that the Bible is just a book with a ton of strict rules in it. But it’s not. God doesn’t want to say, “do this because I said so.”
Would it surprise you if I told you God doesn’t like making rules? Well, God doesn’t like making rules. He wants us to live happily and freely.
God created you purposefully. He designed you intricately, intelligently, and intentionally. So obviously He loves what He makes. If I was God, I would want to make things I enjoyed, things I genuinely loved. I would not want to just chain people up with rules just to fuel my ego. That’d be such a waste of creation.
The only reason God forbids us from doing certain things is to protect us — both from the world and from ourselves. We can really screw up our selfhood and our identity with the choices we make. He gives us guidelines to live by so we can avoid being hurt as much as possible. And it’s because of His extreme love for you that He said “don’t do this and that.” We need boundaries in our lives.
Yes, boundaries. If you really inspect God’s word, you find that many times He does not forbid us from something entirely, but instead places restrictions to it. Two of the best examples I could come up with were premarital sex and drinking.
Premarital Sex – The Bible clearly tells us that sex is between husband and wife only. Why? Because sex is a self expression which is essential for our identity, but should be safeguarded by marital boundaries. When we step outside of that, we allow sexual energy to run rampant throughout our life. I have talked with many young people who have struggled with sexual sins and tell me about how it changed them. They become depressed, lonely, consumed in physicality, and their personalities become introverted. They see people as objects rather than human beings and the sense of emotion and love is gone, leaving lifelessness.
Not only that, but God intends for such an act to be so sacred and so special that you only show it to one person–whom God hand picks especially for you, deemed worthy enough for you. And when God eventually brings this person along, you will either have a special bond through sex, or you will find your disappointment when you break the news to them that the gift has already been spoiled.
Drinking – God doesn’t say, “don’t you ever drink a single drop of alcohol!” In fact, God Himself tasted from it on a number of occasions. Jesus even turned water into wine at a wedding (John 1:2-11).
But the Bible gives us numerous warnings against drunkenness. Alcoholism leads to thousands of health problems, as well as spiritual decline. People often drown themselves in this drink for the sake of a lot of different things. Some for fun–wherein, during their drunk state they may do things they greatly regret, some things that could change their entire lives (car wrecks, for example). And some people constantly consume alcohol as a form of escapism. Instead of calling to God in their troubles, they place their reliance on the small space within a glass bottle. Which, in turn, can only create more problems to escape from. It creates a never ending cycle.
Addictive alcoholism can change your personality just as sexual immorality can. Some people become more aggressive, agitated, and violent. They break things around the house in their drunken rampages. The sad story can go on and on.
The drink itself is usually fine. And God doesn’t tell us that we cannot drink it. But he tells us not to abuse it, not to drink too much of it because it can harm us.
That being said, many Christians don’t drink it simply because of the image that it has amassed over the years. We fear that we would not be the best witnesses to Christ if we were caught red-handed with a Bud Light. And there is truth to this. My uncle once told me a coworker of his had asked him if drinking was wrong, to which he responded much like I have. But he continued, saying, “if I was sitting here telling you about the Bible, but had a beer in my hand, would you take me seriously?”
This is why boundaries are so important! They protect us from harm, and God values us so much He doesn’t want us to be infected with this kind of negativity and harm.
In conclusion, when God says we shouldn’t do something, we ought to listen. It is so important to follow God’s instruction. It’s not for his benefit, but for ours. We often forget that God knows all and sees all. He sees every choice we may be pondering in our minds, and warns us against them–because He knows the exact direction of the road they will take us down. Listen to Him! He means well for you, and worries for you enough that He would pour His heart out into a book that helps warn you about the choices you make!
BEST OF GOD’S BLESSINGS