- Out of Phase #1 – Being a Servant
- Out of Phase #2 – Boundaries
- Out of Phase #3 – Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #4 – Rules
- Out of Phase #5 – Emotions
- Out of Phase #6 – Work
- Out of Phase #7 – Christian Quips
- Out of Phase #8 – Reasons & Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #9 – Religion
- Out of Phase #10 – Enough
- Out of Phase #11 – Retreat
- Out of Phase #12 – Healthy Relationships
- Out of Phase #13 – Words
- Out of Phase #14 – Depth and Breadth – Impact
- Out of Phase #15 – Control
- Out of Phase #16 – Tradition
- Out of Phase #17 – Pain
- Out of Phase #18 – Our Story
- Out of Phase #19 – Peace
- Out of Phase #20 – Hopes, Dreams & Desires
- Out of Phase #21 – Good Things Bad Things
- Out of Phase #22 – Keeping our Focus
- Out of Phase #23 – Transactions
- Out of Phase #24 – Formula
- Out of Phase #25 – Community
- Out of Phase #26 – Thoughts
- Out of Phase #27 – Doing
- Out of Phase #28 – Trying
- Out of Phase #29 – More
- Out of Phase #30 – Knowledge
- Out of Phase #31 – Tragedy
Rules are good. Rules are needed. In much the same way we need boundaries with personal relationships, rules are – simply put – boundaries for us.
It is so easy – a very human thing to do – to get just a degree or two out of phase when it comes to rules and begin to serve them. We are not meant to serve the rules, however, they are meant to serve us. Rules are there, not to be our focus, but to keep us focused. Rules can minimize our distractions or they can become our distraction.
Focusing on the rules can appeal to our sense of rugged individualism and our desire for self-reliance, they can cause us to find security in our own goodness and fool us into thinking we are somehow able to “go it alone.” But, our perceived ability or inability to keep the rules will fuel either a sense of pride or shame.
In the Bible we read about the Pharisees who were in a very real way “professional rule keepers.” They did their best to keep the rules and make sure others did as well. They even added more rules to the rules to better help them keep the rules (now I’m reminding myself a little of Dr. Seuss, lol) – as they anticipated the appearance of the very Messiah they could not see because of the rules they so piously sought to serve. (Talk about missing the forest for the trees).
The reality is we can never be good enough to keep the rules. The good news of the Gospel is that we don’t have to! Now, this isn’t a justification for decadence or an excuse for disobedience, but it is the comfort of being able to rest in the fact that Jesus is our “good enough”. And the purpose of the rules is not to distract us from Him, but to point us to Him.
As I type this, the image of the bumper guards at the bowling alley comes to mind. They are there not to rob our focus, but rather to allow us to focus completely on the pins we are trying to knock down, all the while being assured that our ball will not end up in the gutter. It is the same with rules, they are not to be our focus, but to aid us in focusing on the prize set before us.