Which Rules to Follow?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Pilot is a member of a volunteer organization called Civil Air Patrol whose three main missions are aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services.

One member brought up the subject of the CAP participants in the field wearing BDUs — Battle Dress Uniforms — which consist of camouflage shirts and pants during deer hunting season.

Excellent point.

Who wants to be dressed in camo, wandering through a field on a rescue mission when you are surrounded by hunters who can’t tell you from a deer?

This man said he has his cadets wear fluorescent ball caps and vest.

Good thinking, I say.

He also said he knew he was breaking the uniform code regulation, and would be reprimanded, but felt it best for his cadets.

Way to go.

Rules or no rules, do what’s right.

No one wants to explain to a parent their child has been injured because a hunter couldn’t tell them from a deer.

Thinking about this man’s refusal to follow a rule he felt would endanger those in his care led me to ponder several other instances where people refused to follow certain rules.

  • During his interactions with the Pharisees, Jesus often called them vipers, white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones, and blind guides. The Pharisees prided themselves in following the man-made rules they created, yet they did not follow God’s rules. Jesus refused to go along with them.
  • Previously, I wrote about the Apostle John’s refusal to follow the Jewish religious restriction that prohibited him from entering Pilot’s courts during Christ’s arrest.
  • Henry D. Thoreau often practiced Civil Disobedience. (As did Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.) At one point while Thoreau was in jail for refusing to follow rules he felt were unjust, his good friend, Ralph W. Emerson, visited Thoreau. Emerson asked Thoreau what he was doing “in there”. Thoreau turned the question around and asked Emerson what are you doing “out there”.

At one point, Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, or rule. He answered by saying we are to love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. And to love our neighbor as our self.

As long as we live there will always be rules. If our desire is to become more and more like Christ each and every day, our job, I believe, is to pray for discernment to know which rules he wants us to follow. And which ones he wants us to ignore.

Any rules you’ve felt led to ignore? Besides posted speed limit signs? 😉

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One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 (NIV)

I wish you well.


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Sunday Scriptures – Follow Jesus, Not Mere Rules

During a recent study on Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion, I read something I hadn’t considered before. When Jesus was arrested and tried before Pilate, because Pilate was a Gentile, and because it was the time of Passover, the Jewish leaders who falsely accused Jesus pushed him through Pilate’s gates. They didn’t want to defile themselves by entering a Gentile area. The Jews feared yeast might be present in Pilate’s house. If so, the priests would not have enough time to purify themselves before the Passover Lamb was sacrificed. (They’re handing the Lamb of God over to be crucified, and they’re worried entering a Gentile area would defile them? Really?)

The book of John, written by one of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples, who happened to also be one of Jesus’ cousins, gives a detailed description of what happened inside Pilate’s courtyard. How did John know what went on? Only answer…he was there.

John was a Jew, just like the men who refused to enter Pilate’s presence for fear of defilement. Seems John cared more about following Jesus, than he cared about following the rules of a religion.

As I pondered this thought, I read a devotion written by Lisa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries. What I got from Lisa’s devotion was we need to go beyond following rules – we need to follow Jesus. Isn’t that what John did? The Jewish law said, “Do not enter.” Jesus said, “Follow me.”

Pretty much, I’m a rule follower. But I’m also pretty stubborn. I like to think I make decisions based on what’s best for the grand scheme of things. I think that’s where God’s grace comes in. I doubt very seriously John was defiled because he entered Pilate’s courtyard. If anything, I believe he was blessed, as we are, by what he witnessed, and what he wrote down for us to study today.

What if John had held to the rules, and didn’t follow Jesus? What if we do the same?

Is there an area you feel God’s calling you to minister for him, to be a witness for him? Something maybe a little out of your comfort zone? Something others may not feel you should take on? Something they say might defile you? Someone God’s asking you to befriend who might be out of your circle of friends?

Follow rules, or follow Jesus?

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Next he was taken to the palace of the Roman governor. His accusers wouldn’t go in themselves for that would “defile” them, they said, and they wouldn’t be allowed to eat the Passover lamb. John 18:28

I wish you well.


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