Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt –
(former President of the
Keeping your heart and keeping the rules are two very different things.
My childhood revolved around being a rule keeper. There were all kinds of labels stapled to my pseudo coat of many colors…
Goody Two Shoes
…to name a few.
When I grew up, I found out there was a grown-up label for my childhood rule keeping: Performance Orientation.
The more I learned about it, the more I came to despise it. But I found out the hard way that throwing the baby out with the bath water was not the antidote to the label that ailed me.
The next many years were (and still are) comprised of un-learning, re-learning, and ongoing learning the difference between living inside the little box of ‘sacred rules’, and living from a heart that is continually being re-aligned with Sacred principles.
– Breaker of Rules
One of the healing keys in my life and spiritual journey was discovering in God’s Word that Jesus broke ‘the rules’ all the time. He healed on the Sabbath (how dare He break that rule? Let ’em suffer!). But He also paid his taxes, practicing what He preached.(1)
He turned over the tables of those buying and selling in the temple courts, totally messing up their merchandising displays and the PayPal equivalent of their day.(2) He was a marketing nightmare in that sacred flesh.
And to top it off, He had the shameless audacity of being found in the company of women – particularly those who were busily breaking all sorts of rules themselves. If the rule keepers muttered it once, they must have muttered it a dozen times – “It takes one to know one.”
It’s quite interesting to read in Acts 4 that some of these same rule keepers’ jaws dropped as they saw Sacred principles being lived out by some whom ‘they recognized…as having been with Jesus.’ (v. 13) Whether your translation says ‘amazed’, ‘marveled’, or ‘astonished’, one thing is certain. Unlearned and unwise (by the rule keepers’ standards) men – and women – gain an incredible education through being ordinary people companying with their extraordinary Christ.
Oh yes. He broke the rules. But…He never, ever violated the sacred principles of His Abba.
– New Rules to Live By
Another healing key (accompanied by a hand slap to the forehead!) came as Holy Spirit began bringing scripture alive. You know it’s alive when that ink on paper seems to jump off the page and lands like a flame in your heart and mind, opening up your understanding.
Sometimes simpletons excel at complicating things. By the time I began to understand what I thought I understood that I was now finding out I really didn’t understand…I was an adult and had a family of my own.
This simple lover of Jesus as a child had so gotten lost living under all the rule keeping, that the Sacred principles of His living, breathing ruach Word were nearly foreign to my experience. That’s when the un-learning (of many false and misinterpreted rules by which I governed my life) and re-learning (of what God’s Word really says, in context no less) began to re-school me in new rules to live by – His Sacred principles.
The more time I spent learning at His feet, the more the Sacred principles of His life, truth-telling, and earthly Kingdom witness became mirrors showing me my rule keeping heart. And He reeled me in.
But He didn’t let me off the hook.
He let me know in no uncertain terms that though He was the Keeper of my heart, I too was accountable for how I would keep my heart from that point forth. Through Proverbs 4:23, He banged down the gavel in His gentle-steel way, conducting spiritual business with a loving touch. Can you relate?
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Some years later that verse became the keynote for my blog Wellspring of Life. Time and again, He faithfully reminds me of that Sacred principle. I am grateful He does, for where death by rule keeping once reigned, my heart is kept alive and well-watered by guarding (keeping) it in alignment with His.
Now whenever I discover another well-kept rule that needs broken within me, we break it together. He’s quite good at it. When He breaks it, it’s busted to smithereens. After all, He heals hearts, not rules.
Sometimes He even does it on Wednesday 🙂