Dangerous rules

Posted on April 21, 2016 · Posted in Parenting, Ruling Desires, Sanctification


Following rules will not make you a better person. Rules will not build your character. Rules will not produce spiritual maturity. What rules may do is keep you safe and keep you from breaking laws. The question to ask is this, is there more to life than being safe and legal?

Relying primarily on a set of rules to govern your family can be toxic. Paul warns you about being taken captive by human traditions and spiritual forces of this world. Here is his exact warning found in Colossians two:

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” 2:8

While there is nothing explicit here about the dangers of rules, there is a clear warning about following tradition and the basic spiritual forces of this world. Later on in this chapter of Colossians Paul uses this exact same wording again:

20” Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:”

Now Paul is talking about dangerous rules:

21 ““Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.”

These rules may keep you safe but there is more to life than safety. Yes, be safe, but even better, be holy! The rules Paul warns about are fit only for this life. You can drive within the speed limit, stop drinking and still miss what life is all about. The fact that these rules have some value here on planet earth is what makes them attractive. But with regard to spiritual safety and well-being these rules are of no value at all. Paul says:
23 “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

Such rules only require the strength of the flesh to obey. They will not hold back the lusts of the flesh. In fact they will encourage these lusts. Why? Because anything that does not require faith in Christ and humble reliance upon his Spirit leads to pride and failure.

By all means, drive safely! Know the laws of your community and country. But do not rely on these rules for spiritual well-being.

Simply giving your children rules to:
be quiet,
keep the house clean,
don’t drink,
don’t have premarital sex,
and don’t look at pornography is a dangerous practice.

These rules are deceptive. Keeping them apart from knowing Christ breeds contempt for Christ. Note the story of the rich young ruler. He kept ALL of the rules but rejected Christ.

Paul pleads with you to live all of your life in dependence upon Christ. Go for more than rules. Go for the heart.



Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.