I often take Caleb, my rambunctious three-year-old, to a nearby park so he can burn off some energy. The playground has two of these massive why-didn’t-they-have-these-when-I-was-growing-up mini gymnasiums with twisting slides, ladders, monkey bars, multi level platforms and sliding poles protruding out of them at mad angles.
One evening, five-year-old Randy rode up on his bike and asked Caleb to play tag. Caleb agreed. Randy announced the rules: 1. Each person got three timeouts. 2. Caleb was “it.”
Randy raced off and my smaller, less nimble son began a futile quest to touch him. Naturally, Randy was never in any danger. I encourage Caleb loudly and try not to see the gross in equities of the game. Eventually, Randy realized that it wasn’t much fun, so he magnanimously declare that I could assist my son. Soon we forced Randy into burning two of his timeouts.
When we cornered him on his final time out, Randy announced that, actually, everyone got extra time outs. When I insisted on the original rules, Caleb tagged him.
Randy then jumped on his bike and prodded Caleb to chase him. After paddling around in circles, Randy went home. Caleb wondered why he left, and I explained how Randy didn’t want to play by his own rules.
I’d still be annoyed at him except for this reminder of how often I try to change the rules on God. He asked me to obey, and I enact The Stupid Rule (if I think it’s stupid, I don’t have to do it) or any other personal precept that makes room for my behavior.
Submission may be the toughest part of the Christian walk. Pride makes dying daily a difficult task. We often forget: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey them as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you will be – whether you are a slave to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16).
The truth remains: You can’t half-obey. You either obey or rebel. You prove your Christian maturity through obedience, not independence. On the playground, Randy may have made his own rules, but God rules the playground we call life.
God, point out the places where I am insisting on my own way. Help me embrace Your leading today.