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Bumper Bowling

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 21, 2009

One of my favorite analogies that the Lord gave me was around the use of extra rules and laws to enhance holiness in the believer.

Holiness is more a heart condition than acts performed by the believer.  I find that people love to add rules to their lives because it either makes them feel successful when they follow the rule and/or it gives them leverage against those that aren’t following said rule to demonstrate that person’s perceived “lack of holiness”.

The Jews were notorious for this trapping. God gave about 613 laws in the Torah.  To this, the Jews added Mishnah (oral traditions) which were rules to elaborate on the laws.  For example, if God said, “don’t plow on the Sabbath”, the Mishnah told you not to drag your chair across the floor on the Sabbath because you might move dirt which would thus be plowing.

So about Bumper Bowling…

Using traditional rules to enhance your righteousness, is like putting bumpers up when you are first learning to bowl.  The bumpers actual do not teach you to bowl, they teach you how to run up the score.  Only when the bumpers are taken down, do you actually learn to bowl.

When the bumpers come down, the fear of not hitting pins at all because of the gutter teaches you to throw a straight ball.  The bumpers, or rules designed to make bowling feel easier, actually don’t teach you the heart of bowling anymore than the rules added to Scripture teach you righteousness or the heart of God.

Jesus never just spoke the law without getting to the heart of the issue. For example,

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:27,28

If all we did was “not commit adultery”, yet wandered around consumed with lust, we really wouldn’t be learning toovercome lust.  We might even consider throwing in dress codes to add bumpers to our lives. While the idea of modest dress is good, this doesn’t resolve the issue of the lustful heart. It simply disguises it.  Then one day, when that person is in a place where the rules aren’t controlled and the bumpers come down, they fail to hit any pins because the bumpers they once used to keep them in line are now gone.  They haven’t learned to be a strong Christian; they just learned a rule.

So don’t get hung up on rules and traditions without fully understanding the heart of God.

Are traditions bad?  No, but again, your goal should be chasing after the heart of God, not just following rules.


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