An exampe of Self Imposed Laws

You are a newly married young woman. You want to do your best to provide the right kind of family environment, but it's an environment built on self imposed laws.

I must keep the house clean and tidy at all times, my husband must like the food I cook, I must appear to my neighbours that I have it all together, my children must wear the latest designer clothes.

We have this long list of, 'MUSTS'.

Let's look at what happens when we fail to keep one of our 'musts'.

One day we wake up late, we get up and go downstairs. The previous evening we had guests for dinner and because they left late, we decided to clean up in the morning.

Suddenly there is a knock at the kitchen door. We open it to find our next door neighbour who pushes past us into the kitchen and says, "I was doing some baking and thought I would bring you one of my cakes."

But horror of horrors, what does she see. A kitchen in a mess. The sink full of dirty dishes, plates with half eaten food left on them. A tablecloth with food staines and table chairs strewn around the room. A washing machine with a full clothes basket in front of it's open door and clothes hanging out of it.

We all know it doesn't take much for a kitchen to look like a dump, and a dump it was.

We thank the neighbour for her cake and launch into a whole series of excuses of why the kitchen is in such a mess. We hurriedly make a cup of coffee, have some chat and the neighbour leaves.

What's just happened? We have broken one of our self imposed laws, 'I must keep the house clean and tidy at all times', and we have broken it spectacularly before the neighbour.

We are eaten up with a sense of failure and the self recriminations follow. What will she think of me now. She'll gossip this to the rest of the neighbours. I'll acquire a reputation as a dirty unkempt wife and mother. What will my husband think of me.

Just this one breaking of a self imposed law takes weeks for the feelings of guilt and condemnation to subside, but they are always there in the back of our mind, ready to spring up when we meet a neighbour or it comes to our remembrance.

Can you see how this one incident can steal our peace of mind, wreak havoc with our emotions, destroy any sense of fulfilment and worse of all, destroy our relationships.

Multiply this incident with other failures and we have a life not worth living.

So how can we change, how can we break free from such debilitating behaviour.

The answer is found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we turn to Christ and ask Him to take charge of our lives, we find a new peace and joy will flood our being and some of our self imposed laws naturally disappear.

Over time however we find some of those laws still operating in our life.

How wonderful that Jesus now has the answer that will free us forever from such laws.

Let's take the incident of the messy kitchen and re-run it from a place of our relationship with Jesus.

Our neighbour has a cup of coffee and departs. We're feeling guilty and condemned that the kitchen was in such a mess. How can we break free. Let's turn to the Bible.

Titus 2:14 He gave himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be His special people. (GWT)

Col 2:13 When you were dead in your sins, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins. (NIV)

Rom 8:1. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (NLT)

The above verses show us that Jesus Christ has forgiven all our sins, mistakes, weaknesses and failures, thus removing all guilt and condemnation.

We can now receive His forgiveness and throw off any guilt and condemnation and have our peace and joy restored.

He also loves us unconditionally.

Rom 5:8 But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)

1 Jn 4:10 This is real loveā€”not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (NLT)

God's love for us is not based on our behaviour, it's not based on keeping any rules or regulations. He just loves us unconditionally. Therefore whenever we fail, make mistakes or sin, we have the confidence that He still loves us.

And because He loves us, He also accepts us.

Eph 1:5,6 God decided in advance to adopt us as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

His beloved is His Son Jesus Christ. God accepts us the same way He accepts His Son. Again, He doesn't accept us because we keep all the rules, He accepts us simply because He loves us.

What about the neighbours and our reputation!

Phil 4:6,7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV) FREEDOM!

Prov 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)

We are to give every anxiety, worry and fear to God and trust Him to work them out.

As we give what we think our neighbours are saying about us behind our backs to God, and leave them there with Him, He will sort things out for us better than we could ever hope for.

I implore you, don't just read the verses of scripture in this article. Meditate on them, read then very slowly, spend time thinking about each word. You will find over time that the truth of these verses will become real to you, thus enabling you to put them into practise and free yourself from your debilitating self imposed laws.

Praise the name of Jesus!