Why The Rules Won’t Fix You

Erik Cooper —  August 28, 2012 — Leave a comment

If any politician wants my vote, he or she only needs to offer a realistic and economical solution for getting my three kids out of bed and ready for school in the morning. Why is no one talking about this obvious bi-partisan issue? We parents are fighting our own War on Terror here!

At age 7, of course my son should be responsible enough to put on his own clothes. Yet each morning I find myself opting for sanity. We’ve found the hybrid assembly line/indentured servant approach to work the most efficiently (at least as far as Austin is concerned).

In the midst of this sad excuse for a new NBC sitcom, I found myself daydreaming the other day.

(Insert dreamy soundscape and blurred wavy visuals here).

All this would fix itself if I could just download my desires into the mind of my little Leave it To Beaver. I wouldn’t have to spend so much time barking orders. He would just innately know what to do! Surely this is technologically possible nowadays? An app? A procedure? An implant? Something?!”


But not all children are seven years old.

I woke this morning to the news that the Dallas Cowboys have slapped troubled wide receiver, Dez Bryant, with a list of lifestyle rules he must follow to continue playing for the team:

• A midnight curfew.

• No alcohol.

• No strip clubs and only nightclubs pre-approved by the Cowboys organization.

• Twice-a-week counseling sessions.

• A minimum of one security person with him at all times.

• Security will drive the wide receiver to all practices, games, and even personal functions.

These rules are there to protect. To guide. To make wise decisions for a young man who is obviously struggling to make wise decisions for himself. (And, let’s be honest, to protect a very valuable asset to the Cowboys organization). But let’s face it, while rules help to control behavior from the outside, they also have a downside:

They stir up our impulse to rebel.

They never fix what is at the root of our bad behavior in the first place.

That’s why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so potent and powerful. The Gospel doesn’t mean “your sin doesn’t matter, do what you want.” The Gospel means “You can’t fix it, so God did it for you.”

“God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!”

Romans 8:3-6 MSG

Looks like God already pioneered my desire-download idea. He offers to fix our heart, not just manipulate our behavior. To give us His life, not just demand suffocating morality from our old one.

This is the Good News! The Gospel. It’s more than a campaign slogan, it’s hope. It’s life. Have you embraced it?

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