Are God’s Commands Too Restrictive?
Every so often, a Christian will hear those around him or her question why it is that they refrain from participating in certain activities. Sometimes we might even be mocked for abstaining from things that the world finds normal and popular. The Lord warns us ahead of time so that we’re not shocked when people send jabs our way for being too “strict.” 1 Peter 4:4 says, “They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you” (NIV).
However, it’s all too easy to start taking to heart the comments of those that don’t know God. We might begin to ask ourselves, “Are they right? Am I too strict? Are God’s commands too restrictive? Is he taking away my freedom?”
God’s Commands Are for Our Good
The same verse provides, by implication, a very good reason to actually be thankful for God’s restrictions. The ungodly are “reckless.” In their wild pursuit of pleasure, they overstep bounds that our Creator set to protect us. They are like race cars flying along at breakneck speed — but without brakes. The joyride will eventually end in a painful crash.
God’s commands are for our good (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:13). The apostle John declares this fact in another way: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3, NASB). If we sometimes feel restricted, perhaps it is because we need to be restricted so that we don’t hurt ourselves.
My little daughter often chafes at the limits my wife and I place on her. But that’s just because she is too immature to understand that playing in the street, jumping on top of her baby brother, and eating unlimited amounts of ice cream could have serious consequences! She does well to trust that we are giving her rules for her good, and not just to make her miserable while satisfying some personal need for dominance.
The next time we come across a line that God has drawn, let’s not think he is placing it there just to deprive us. Wasn’t that mankind’s original mistake? Eve’s every experience with her Creator was unmistakable evidence of his goodness, but when some unknown character that had never done a thing for her merely hinted that God was keeping something amazing from her by forbidding the fruit, she fell for it. Behold the consequences!
We must trust that God is a good Father that knows what is best for us. Even his restrictions are a sign of his grace!