If you put me at a crosswalk with a red light, with no cars in sight, I will push the button and wait for the "red hand" to turn to the "white walking man" before I cross the street.
A rule follower.
If I pull into a parking space and notice it has a sign that says "For bank customers only" and I am going into the cleaners, I will pull out and find another parking space.
A rule follower.
I can remember as a kid in school, I couldn't stand to be called out for doing anything wrong in class. If I was, I was mortified and would tear up instantly. Getting pulled over for speeding or some other traffic violation ... about puts me over the edge.
I have always had a hard time understanding people who don't follow the rules. Don't you know I am a "barrel of fun" to play a board game with!
I'm glad I am a rule follower, but there is something in me that tells me I am a little off in my motivation. I feel God is trying to teach me that my heart is not quite right. More on that in a minute.
The Israelites had some folks who didn't like to follow the rules. How about the manna incident. The rule was you were to go out each morning and collect enough manna for one day. "One omer for each person you have in your tent.", Moses told the people. "No one is to keep any of it until morning."
Well, sure enough, there were some who saved some of the manna till morning and found it spoiled, stinking, and full of maggots. Yuck.
Now to a rule follower like myself, it seems pretty simple. Collect enough manna for everyone in your tent, but be sure and eat it all. Don't save any of it. Okay. Understood. Done. Here is the problem. I know myself. If I had been alive back then, I'm sure I would have been pointing my finger at the people keeping their manna till morning and shouting out to Moses, "Uhhh, rule breaker over here! We have a rule breaker Moses!"
That's attractive. Not.
I think I'm understanding the message God is speaking to me. Being a rule follower does not impress God. Doing all the right things does not make me a better person, a better Christian, a better daughter to Him, a better anything.
God is taking me off my "rule following pedestal" and showing me He is all about my heart.
He wants my obedience, not out of fear of losing His love, or fear of not looking "good" or fear of consequences. He wants it out of my love for Him. He wants it out of my understanding that He has my best in mind and wants to protect me. He wants my obedience to be out of my relationship with Him. He wants me to obey Him, because I trust Him.
The Israelites who kept the manna were afraid God would not provide the next day. They didn't believe Him. They didn't trust Him. They felt they had to watch after themselves.
But the truth is this...God loves His people. He loves His people back then and He loves His people now. Nothing has changed. He loves us and He calls us to obedience because He knows our life is best when we are living under the flow of His understanding and direction.
So go ahead...be a rule follower. Join me in becoming a new kind of rule follower, one who obeys out of a heart that truly understands He is for me... every minute of every day!