Advent Devotional - Day 17

Tuesday, December 15
Psalm 19:7-11, Genesis 3:1-7

Rules. I have a three year old son so my house has a lot of rules. Breakfast before any other activity in the morning. No toys at the dinner table. No climbing or jumping on the couch. No tackling his litter sister. And on they go.

The rules are there for his own good, for him to be safe and happy. But he often doesn’t see the rules that way. Instead he sees them as limiting the fun he can have. When inevitably he rebels against a rule, it usually results in either someone getting hurt or an epic meltdown.

The two scriptures for today are about rules, God’s rules for living a good, full, meaningful life. The psalmist is reflecting on how, when we follow God’s guidance for our life, we experience joy and freedom and wisdom. But like my three year old son, we often don’t see God’s rules for our lives as giving us a fuller, more meaningful life. Instead we can be guilty of seeing God’s rules as limiting or counterintuitive. Pray for your enemy? Give money away without asking anything in return? Forgive even when it costs you something? Did God really mean for us to follow these rules?

Then there is the Genesis scripture. A story about what happens when we rebel against God’s way of doing life. When I read this story I don’t blame Eve or Adam. I get it. I like to do life my own way too, make my own decisions, go my own way.

This story stands as a reminder that God’s rules are there for a reason. Not to limit our life or the fun we can have. But instead to invite us into a different, truer, more meaningful life. Like Eve and Adam, we all have a tendency to rebel against God’s way of doing life which can leave us and others hurt. But when we follow God’s guidance, it’s like we are following the instruction manual from the one who created us. While it may feel limiting, following God’s instructions leads to a fuller, more meaningful life.

Reflection: Today find some time to reflect on which of God’s instructions you have a hard time following. Is it to be generous or loving your enemy or forgiving others or something else? Then reread Psalm 19:7-11. How can listening to and obeying this instruction lead you to a fuller life?  

Prayer: God help me to trust that your way of doing life is better than my own. Help me to be open to your guidance throughout today.

Reflection by Matt Fulmer

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