God's rules give us freedom
'God's Spirit makes us... self-controlled...' Galatians 5:22-23 CEV
'Christianity just has so many rules'; 'You're missing out on so much because of your faith!' Ring any bells? Sadly, many people see Christianity as just that - rules, rules, rules. The Bible does tell us of God's commands, but these commands (or rules) aren't just there for the sake of it. There's good reason to restrict what we can do and how we can do it. When we have no boundaries or self-control we can become slaves to our emotions and desires, which is not good for us.
God's rules give us freedom (sounds backwards, but it's 100% true): freedom to live as God made us to, not to conform to society's norms. That freedom, however, can only be released if we obey God's rules. The good news is we're not left on our own to do this. God has sent us the Holy Spirit who lives inside us and, if we allow him to, helps us to exercise self-control.
But self-control isn't just a physical act; it's a mind thing too. It's one thing to stop ourselves from doing or saying something but it's more difficult to stop ourselves from indulging certain thoughts. Jesus tells us that when we actively think about stuff that isn't healthy, we are just as guilty as if we had actually done it (Matthew 5:28). So let us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, learn self-control for our minds.
So what now? Which of God's commandments or 'rules' do you find hardest to obey? Write it down. Now, consider how following it could actually give you freedom.
Soulfood: Ecc 11:7-10, Ecc 12:1, Ps 39:4-13, 2 Tim 4:6-8