A song we sing regularly in our Spanish-speaking church is Hay Libertad en la Casa de Dios (There is Freedom in the House of God). My sixteen-year-old recently questioned the validity of this song. She argued that the church is much more a house of rules than a house of freedom. I understand where she is coming from. We do spend a lot of time in church talking about following God’s rules/commandments. It is therefore only natural that an inquisitive and contrarian teenager would see a major contradiction in this song. My response to her, and all of us, is that there is indeed much blessing and freedom in following the commands of God. We may not always see it that way, but obeying God is life-giving, not life-taking. To obey God is to unlock the best life and eternity possible.
How can obeying the commands we find in Scripture really lead to the best life? I think of it this way. I live in a large city where the traffic can be horrible. Thankfully, we have many traffic rules that make getting around at least somewhat possible. A problem we have, however, is that a specific group of people frequently choose to disobey these rules. They happen to mostly ride motorcycles (my apologies to my American motorcycle friends, who I know do follow traffic regulations). Their unwillingness to abide by lane rules, traffic lights, speed limits, etc. leads to a ridiculous amount of serious traffic accidents. Around 90% of the accidents I’ve seen have involved a motorcycle not obeying the rules. God has given us commandments not to make life difficult, but to make it better. He loves us so much as to lay out commands that guide all of humanity toward the best life possible. Checkout the following passage:
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18
Why do we obey God’s commands? Because we love Him. We love God because He has created us and saved us. We follow His commands in response to this amazing love for us. This is, however, not a one-sided relationship where we serve a master as if we were robots. When we follow God’s commands God is with us as the Holy Spirit, guiding us throughout life. Not only do God’s commands and Spirit lead us toward a better life, but they also lead us toward eternal life. Because we live in a sinful world not even God’s commands can lead us to a perfect life. God has, however, solved that problem. Because of his sacrifice on the Cross, we can have a perfect eternal life. If you want a truly blessed life and eternity begin taking God’s commands seriously. Can they seem difficult? Yep! However, they always lead us to the same place: the loving plans and blessings of God.