Following the Rules (my journey through Psalms 119)
I don’t understand people who intentionally rebel against the rules.
Seriously. I don’t.
When I was in high school, my friends had curfews and had to call their parents at certain intervals to check in. Most of them had a strict rule system they were supposed to follow…sometimes they did, and sometimes they really didn’t.
As a kid, I always wondered why my parents didn’t give me the same strict guidelines, but as an adult I now (think) I know why. I was WAY harder on myself than they ever had to be.
This is who I am.
On the Enneagram, the call it a “type 1”, the reformer (I don’t remember if I have talked about this before or not on this blog, but if I haven’t, you should really look this up. And even take the test. I am not what you would call a ‘people person’, but this institute has really helped me gain insight into others, and particularly what motivates them. In writing, it has helped me create more dynamic characters too. It’s fascinating.). I love rules.
Psalm 119 speaks straight to that rule-loving, do-the-right-thing inner soul of mine. And I love it.
That doesn’t mean I always do the right thing. Lord knows I make a bundle of mistakes just like the next person, but my default setting is to follow these rules and be rewarded for my pains.
Get the A.
Get the recognition.
Get the appreciation.
Unfortunately, I don’t always like the fact that I do what is right and somehow that recognition and/or reward is not exactly what I expected; meanwhile, Joe Schmoe does whatever the hell he pleases and, by all appearances, is the more successful one.
What happened to righteous justice? To the natural order of things? To do what is right and be rewarded?
I’ve been learning a lot lately about obedience. I’ve never had much of a problem being obedient if I can understand why I must be obedient. Don’t touch the stove, you’ll get burned. Gotcha, I don’t want to be burned so I can follow that rule!
Like most people, I struggle to be obedient when the outcome is a little more…ambiguous. You want me to do what now? Give money to someone in need? But, what about my needs? I can’t afford to give any extra money–unless I want to eat Ramen for the next month or two.
Sometimes I’m selfish.
But that’s not what God wants from me, is it? He doesn’t want me just to follow the rules that keep me safe. He wants me to walk in his ways, to become less about recognition and more about recognizing others’ needs. He wants me to do WELL, not just to do RIGHT.
Do well, the right thing, and you will be accepted.
Not by the world, no, you may never be accepted by the world (let’s face it, Ash, you’re kind of a weirdo!), but you will be accepted by God. If this were the world’s definition, doing the right thing would lead to health, wealth and popularity.
But God does not follow the ‘natural’ order of things, he is supernatural and his definition is pretty eccentric: do the right thing and be accepted could lead, well, anywhere he needs you to be.
And it will be amazing.