Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life, Games, and the Gospel: Rules

I remember wishing I could do this a lot back when I played Dad at chess.  How great would it be to have any piece be able to do whatever it wants?  Just think, you'd be able to have a check-mate from the first move!  Starting move: QxKe8#  Unless of course, the opposing team is able to do the same thing, in which case they just take your queen and you go on until every piece is gone.

Why are rules so important?  In Dungeons and Dragons, apparently they're important enough for someone to have published an entire book just about the rules. (It's called the Rules Compendium, and I understand they've published a new version for D&D4.0)  In chess, each piece has a specific way that they move, in order to achieve a specific end.  It's the same, although in a more limited sense, in Checkers, Life, and even Monopoly.

But why are rules so important?  Why can't we just take all the Monopoly money from the bank, put houses whereever we want?  Why not just move the chess pieces to the other side of the board?  Why put ourselves into these mental straitjackets?

Quite simply, it's because it's the only way life will work.  Let's just stick with Monopoly.  If everyone were to take what they wanted from the bank, charge five thousand dollars rent, build whenever they wanted, not pay rent to anyone, what would be the point?  There would be no progress.  It would be complete anarchy, and noone would have fun.

A bit the same way, God has given us rules called commandments.  We are allowed to follow these rules if we choose, or to disobey and try to find our own way.  He gives us these rules for one purpose, and one purpose only: He wants us to be happy. 

There are many things, such as premarital sex, drugs, pornography, gangs, crimes, cigarettes, that promise us happiness, or that appear to. 

 However, on trying them, we find them nothing but cheap illusions, put there by someone who wishes us nothing but harm.  Satan places them there in order to deceive us.  Embittered by his loss in the war in heaven, he will stop at nothing to destroy us.  There is no depth to which the father of lies will not stoop.

The rules are to protect us, and to make us happy.  Disobedience, while it may bring passing pleasure, will bring no lasting happiness.  I promise that God will help you to be happy if you follow his rules.  Obedience is always the best option.

As James E. Faust (1920-2007) said, "Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated."

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