Rules of the Game
I have played sports all my life. As a child, I played baseball and football in organized leagues. I also played pickup games of football, baseball, and basketball with my friends. Whether I played in a league or played with my friends, the games always had rules. Sometimes when I played with my friends, the rules varied depending on how many we had to play.
Life has been compared to a game, and every game has rules. There are three different sets of rules by which the game of life is played: individual rules, man's rules, and God's rules.
Everyone, even those who have no regard for God or the law, have rules by which they live their lives. For some, it is much like a pickup game: they change the rules in order to suit their purposes. However, many live in strict adherence to their rules.
Individual rules are the lowest, most basic form of rules. They apply only to the individual and don't necessarily have any basis in truth, justice, honesty, or fairness.
Everyone, from the richest to the poorest, is affected by man's rules. These are the laws of the land in which you live. These rules can vary depending on what country, state, territory, or city you live in.
Man's rules apply to those who live within their jurisdiction. The laws of England don't apply to those who live in the United States. The laws of New York City don't apply to those who live in Buffalo.
Just like individual rules, man's rules don't necessarily have any basis in truth, justice, honesty, or fairness.
God's rules apply to everyone, from the lowest peasant to the most powerful king. Unlike individual and man's rules, God's rules are the same for everyone. God expects the same from you and me. No one is exempt from or above God's law.
Unlike the other rules of life, God's rules have everything to do with truth, justice, honesty, and fairness. In God's jurisdiction, anyone who breaks one of the rules is guilty of breaking all the rules (James 2:10). None are guiltless (Romans 3:23).
When Rules Collide
The problem with three sets of rules is that they will not always agree with each other. Like boys on the playground who cannot agree on how they should play the game, when the rules don't agree, you have conflict. If you pick your individual rule, you break man's or God's rule. If you pick man's rule, you break your individual or God's rule. You can't always follow all three. You must decide which rule to follow and which one you will break.
Selfishly, we many times pick the rule that works to our advantage, which usually means picking our individual rule over man's or God's rule. Prisons around the world are full of people who have chosen their rules over man's rules. Because of this, many will forgo their individual rules and obey man's rules.
What about when man's rules conflict with God's rules? Graveyards and prisons have been filled with people who have chosen God's rules over man's rules, stating that it was more important to follow God's rules than man's rules. Following God's rules can bring trouble, danger, or even death, but thousands through the centuries have believed that God's rules supersede man's rules.
When faced with the challenge of choosing God's rules over man's rules, the individual has to asks himself whether they believe that God's rules are the best method for living their life. Choosing God's rules is a matter of heart. For in order to follow God's rules, you need a heart that wishes to please God above all else.
The rules we follow show where our priorities lie. Do our priorities lie with self? Man? Or God? The way we live our lives and the rules we employ speaks volumes about what we believe in. What do you believe in? Self? Man? Or God?