Cleaning up is much easier than clearing out. So often, I simply clean and rearrange. Clearing out makes room in my closet, pantry, heart, and head. Rearranging doesn’t work because the space remains full. When I truly clear away, there is room for growth. When there is room for growth, there is opportunity for change. Whether it’s outdated clothing, food I don’t eat, or rules that limit, it’s all about making room. Christ does some powerful cleaning up and clearing out when it comes to rules.
God requires space in my heart, but He will not take it. He insists that I do the clearing before He does the filling. The only time self plays an important role in doing God’s work and answering His call is when it comes to discipline. I have to have self discipline if I am to reach the self-differentiation necessary to connect as God desires. Discipline is the rub!
Discipline is difficult to define; there many directions those definitions can go. A few from Bing:
“the ability to behave in a controlled and calm way even in a difficult or stressful situation”
“the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior
“punishment designed to teach somebody obedience”
“the system of rules used in a religious denomination or order”
All of the above are perfectly good definitions of discipline, but only one puts the responsibility in my hands. Practice, punishment, and system refer to discipline being taught or followed. I like “the ability to behave in a controlled and calm way even in a difficult or stressful situation” in that ability indicates competence, intelligence, natural tendency, or gift. Those are personal and something I have or can attain.
Self discipline is more about common sense than anything else. Knowing the rules in a school, church, business, or country are important. It is also important to know whether or not you agree with those rules before you follow them. That is especially true when it comes to a religious denomination or order. Many people belong to churches without even knowing the beliefs important to the group. While there is no church or other organization with perfect rules, there is a body with them. Christ’s rules were simple, and He showed a group of Pharisees who thought they had the rules down pat a set of rules that caused them to be quiet.
Christ’s rules involve loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving others as myself. That isn’t complicated until I get to the love my enemies part or love when I am not loved back part or the be willing to give up my selfishness part. Christ’s simple rules have nothing to do with which translation of His Word I use. If I’m in doubt, I should go to the original Hebrew or Greek:) They do not say who can and cannot be a member or a minister. They do not say what percentage goes where; one hundred percent of all I have and all I am is God’s. His rules put the responsibility on me and my heart where it belongs.
I tire of rules and regulations especially when they separate and create arguments. I really hate it when they give folks the right to pass judgment on those who follow a different set of rules. So, in the interest of cleaning up and clearing out, I’m clearing out all but Christ’s simple rules. Too many rules will make me like the Pharisees who used rules to punish, judge, and divide. God forgive us when we do the same.