Who wants to play by rules?

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Wouldn’t life, or sporting events, be easier if there were no rules? Nobody to tell you what you can or can’t do, no restrictions, anything goes. Easy, right?

I can recall a couple of times when it sure seemed that some folks either didn’t want to play by the rules, or else they just plain wanted to cheat. Example 1: some friends of mine got together one afternoon and played some “pick-up” football. We chose teams, and played football (touch or tackle, I don’t remember). The other team seemed to have an advantage, though, because no matter what we did, we just couldn’t make any headway!

We soon found out why: they were playing with several more players than we were.

No wonder we couldn’t win. Nobody can when the teams aren’t “balanced” with the same amount of players, on the field, at the same time. Oh yeah—we asked the other team, how come you’re playing with more on your team? The answer: “we want to win!”

Even if they had to cheat to do it.

That still hurts, many years later.

Example 2: a co-worker and I offered to referee a two-on-two basketball game. Jack—not his real name—and I had whistles and a rudimentary knowledge of some basketball rules. Besides, we were all friends, working in the same organization, right?

Needless to say, that didn’t last long. One of the players committed, to me, an obvious “foul” by blocking the other player. I whistled the play dead, and called the foul. The player definitely didn’t like the call (does anybody?) and, glaring at Jack and me, grumbled, “Ah, we don’t want any of you guys to call (referee) this game. Let us play our own way!”

Jack and I just looked at each other, shook our heads, and left. They wanted their own way—no rules, remember?—so we let them at it. I have no idea how the game ended and frankly, I didn’t care at that time. Amazing that what they had accepted—us as referees—they later rejected.

The Bible has many stories where people either wanted to do their “own thing”, or even flat-out reject God’s rules. Really there weren’t that many rules to follow: simply love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself is pretty much all God required. Take a look, though, at the rebellions against God: Adam and Eve, in Eden; Abram, when he went to Egypt without consulting God about it; Lot, and the two times he was rescued; David, with Bathsheba; Solomon, when he worshiped the false gods which his foreign wives brought with them; Jeroboam in building the golden calves at Bethel and Dan; so many of the Israelites who abandoned the worship of God to worship any number of idols—and who knows how many more examples one could list.

There are only two choices anyone really can make: follow God’s instructions (believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved-Acts 16:31), or reject God’s instructions and suffer eternal separation from Him in Hell.

Will you follow God’s way, or the wrong way?

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