27 January 2012

The Rules of the Game

It is an interesting sight to watch little children playing games together. We can see they have a leader who decides which game the group should play. He spells out the rules about what they are allowed to do and what they should not do. The leader has the power to throw out players who don’t follow his rules!

Pretty simple isn’t it? The leader chooses the game and sets the rules and others just simply have to obey those rules. Breaking those rules mean forfeiting the prize or getting thrown out of the game. Both of these eventualities are decided by the leader. 

Well it may be very simple to understand in terms of children’s play but when we have to accept the same scenario in real life, it doesn’t really go well with most of us. We are a generation that likes to live ‘my way!’ and smirk at the rules altogether. ‘Rules are meant for breaking’ is a common statement we hear almost everywhere. For the current ‘generation ME’ or ‘generation next’ living the ‘right way’ is ‘unfashionable’ and ‘boring’. Is it any surprise that we have increasing instances of accidents, disease, death or destruction because people don’t follow any rules related to traffic, health, prevention of addiction or the way to keep peace?

The question is how do we look at rules? Do we look at them as some mean person’s scheme to make our lives more difficult and miserable? Or do we look at them as instructions meant to make our life smoother, easier and safer for everyone concerned? Our outlook towards them decides whether we obey or disobey them.

With rules there are consequences for not following them. Just as the leader in the children’s game decides that someone should be removed from the game because they broke the rules, in real life too, breaking rules have consequences… sometimes very severe. For example, those who use the road as a racetrack may ultimately meet with a grave accident due to their no-respect-for-rules attitude and if they die it means that there is no return to the game of ‘life’. At other times, there is a warning, a fine, an imprisonment or your license could be confiscated.

We may not like the idea of rules, but the fact is that these rules govern every area of our lives right from the spiritual, physical, social, financial and all aspects of life. The universe we live in has its own laws. We are all familiar with the laws of gravity thus we know that if we throw something up it would certainly come down.  This law is a reality, one that we live in. It is the same with other universal laws such as the law of cause and effect, the law of compensation, etc.

Who made the universal laws that govern our existence? Did they just come to being? Absolutely not! There is Someone who made the universe and brought everything into existence by His power. He made the earth, the sun, the moon, the planets and all the creatures on earth. He also ordained the times and seasons for everything and we are able to plan things throughout the year simply because the cycles He planned at the beginning of time have been going on continuously since the time He made them. We know Him as the one true God.

Everything in the universe moves according to how God ordained. Considering we have to acknowledge that the rules He made concerning how a man should live, where he would go after death and the result of doing evil will also have effect. It is a fact that every living creature has to die and each of them is governed by the rules made by God. Whether we accept His existence or not is of no consequence to Him. He ‘is’ and therefore what He ordained stands and no one can fight Him and have their way. Just like the leader in a children’s game, He has His way. His rules apply and are carried out by all elements in the universe – living or non living. Those who go against His ordained rules face getting thrown out of the game, which here would mean death – eternal death.

We know that there are consequences to every addiction. Alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, or anything a person may be addicted to in the end tends to swallow that person’s life and leave him shallow, lifeless or even dead. Too much of anything is bad, too much of salt is bad for your BP, too much of sugar has severe consequences too. Most diseases we have are a result of too much! ‘Too much’ love for anything tends to become a bondage, a prison which is difficult to get out of. God has given warnings to us so we can avoid getting into such predicaments. We are also warned about an excessive love for power, money or anything that is worldly. We are warned that those who live by the sword, die by the sword and that love for money is the root of all evil.

Why did God make all these rules? Why does God tell us such things? The answer is because He cares for us. He wants us to treasure ourselves and value our lives. Just as when a mother tells her child to keep away from the fire so that she won’t be burnt, in His love God sets boundaries for us so that we too can be safe.

Rules and laws protect us and our rights. Imagine if you made a deal with someone and paid them all the money but they failed to keep their part and didn’t deliver the goods. If there were no laws you would not be able to do anything about it but since there are laws you have a way of dealing with the problem and getting your money back. Without rules society would become a lawless jungle where anyone can behave anyhow, do anything that harms others and no one would stop him. Rules and laws are God’s way to ensure there is order in everything. When rules are broken they help us know that there is a problem that needs to be solved.

Obeying or disobeying the rules God made not only affects our present and future life on earth but also our eternal destiny. We know everyone of us will die someday. What happens after we die? Well, God has also made a place called ‘Hell’. Hell is referred to in the Bible as ‘Gehenna’ of fire, Hades or the lake of fire – the second death

Jesus illustrated this in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Both of them died. “And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, the rich man lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, “Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, “Between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this [place] to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us.” Luke 16:22-24,26

‘Why should we care about Heaven and Hell?’ you may ask. Well I know it to be the Truth. I understand that you may choose to disagree with it… However, there is one thing you must consider, what if you are wrong? Would you personally choose to spend eternity in a lake of fire? We are not talking about one year, ten years or fifty years… we are talking about forever! Obey the rules or commandments of God and enjoy eternity in heaven where there is joy of every kind OR disobey them and spend eternity like the rich man in the parable – in Hell, the lake of fire, the place of eternal torment.  

Personally speaking… I prefer obeying and going to heaven even if I have to suffer on account of it in earth… After all, permanent is more important than temporary, isn’t it?