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    The Rules We Make or How NOT to become a Pharisee with Unintended Consequences

    The Rules We Make Or How NOT To Become A Pharisee With Unintended Consequences

    We live in a society of rules or laws, all designed to restrict the lesser nature of mankind, that part of us that rejects all law that doesn't “fit” into our own will. In a country such as the United States of America, we are governed by a national law we call the Constitution of the United States which was made by men, to rule over men and approved and enacted into law by men who agree to those rules. This kind of law is more of a general all encompassing kind of law that provides a broad “guideline” to which all other “laws” are made to clarify and reinforce.

    In state law, another “constitution” is instituted that fits the needs of each particular state. Again, laws written by men, for men and approved by men. The majority wins. The same goes for local governments and communities. Each establishes laws that suit their needs to govern.

    Now when men find ways to circumvent those laws through what they find are “loop holes”, vague areas that are not so clearly defined, new laws are written to “fill the gaps” of the old laws, in the hope of closing those “loop holes”. 

    All these laws are written to IDENTIFY or EXPOSE the need, provide effective GUIDELINES for governance and establish an effective means at ENFORCEMENT of those laws. Any failure at any step renders that law ineffective and more laws are needed to REINFORCE the original law.

    Why do we do this? It is because the nature of man is to overthrow all constraints and become a law unto ourselves, to do what pleases each individual regardless of the effects on others. Without law, the world would quickly descend into a place of lawlessness and anarchy which will end in self-destruction. There lies the onus of this beast. The need for laws is due to the sinful nature of mankind which is rushing headlong towards its own self-destruction because of the utter selfishness of each person.

    In Jesus’ day, it was the laws of the Pharisees that had become so burdensome that Jesus encouraged His followers to not follow the examples of the Pharisees. Many times we read where Jesus called the religious leaders of His day, hypocrites. What started out as something that seemed innocent enough, over time, 400 years, progressed to something that became unrecognizable as the Word of God. For 400 years, the Pharisees, those dedicated and God fearing men whose only desire was to become separate and holy before a Holy God, added one rule upon another until there were so many, none of the children of Israel could “qualify” unless they became Pharisees themselves. 

    None of this started with ill-intent. Every one of those “rules” these devout men added was to “protect” themselves from falling into sin. What they did not realize was that by adding to what God said either to do or not to do, they were putting their own “earthly-minded spin” to God’s word which was spoken from God’s own heart.

    In the New Testament, we are given some insights that was not available to those of the Old Testament where only the blood of bulls and goats cleansed one from sin but not from that sinful nature. The law, though perfect and holy, had not the power to give life but only the power to identify/expose the sin, establish guidelines on how to live, and execute judgment for those who broke those laws. Life, the kind that was introduced through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, was not available to those under the old covenant.

    Mankind has a tendency to want to “add” to laws in order to either “expand" the understanding of that law or to “protect” others from breaking those laws. We can see this dynamic in action in the Garden of Eden. Before Eve was created from Adam’s rib, God gave Adam one law, albeit a very important law. Here is the exact quote from God to Adam:
    Genesis 2:16-17 NKJV And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
    The very next verse is where we see God making the woman out of Adam’s rib. The following chapter reveals the encounter between that woman and the serpent. Let’s look at the woman’s answer and see if we can see a difference between what God told Adam and what Adam told Eve.
    Genesis 3:2-3 NKJV And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die. ’”
    Do you see it? A rule was added. “Nor shall you touch it…” was an add-on to what God told Adam. This was not exactly what God said. Although we do not see Adam telling Eve about God’s commandment, we DO see something that does not EXACTLY coincide with God’s Word to Adam. THIS is a product of man, something intended by him to protect his mate from sinning against God.

    We always have within us, that tendency to take every precaution and in doing so, we actually find ourselves establishing rules, laws, policies and the like intended for good but because we are limited in our vision of the future, we cannot see the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES our rules will create. Only GOD has the wisdom and foresight to create laws or rules that have the intended consequences simply because God can see the end from the beginning. We have no such ability.

    What we don’t see is how those rules of ours will be “interpreted” by those years from now who may not be in that place of spiritual maturity we were in when we created those rules. Perspective has a way of changing as time marches on. Let me illustrate this in a simple but poignant story.

    A man and his wife were preparing a holiday meal where a ham was prepared and put in a pan and into the oven for roasting. The man saw his wife cut off the end of the ham just before she put the ham in the pan and into the oven. He asked her why she cut off the end of the ham. Her response was straight to the point, “Because this is how my mom always did it.” Not satisfied with that, he asked her mom why she cut the end of the ham before putting it in the oven. Her response was similar, “Because my mom always did it that way.” Grandmother was still alive and he asked her the same question. This is how she answered, “Well, it was too big to fit in the pan!”

    Yes, the grandmother had a very good reason for doing what she did but what she did not realize was that what she did in answer to the unusual circumstances, her daughter would follow as “tradition”. This simple act became a kind of “rule” or “tradition” and others began to follow this by rote and not by truth.

    I would like to offer another example out of my own life. I was part of a group of believers who were, for the most part, consisting of “seasoned” believers. In one meeting, they were discussing how they should approach ministering to those who were decidedly “younger” in the things of the Spirit. Essentially, they were talking about attempting to “dial down” the message to “fit” those who were young in the faith. All of this had the sound of something reasonable. The intent was “good” because they did not want to unintentionally “chase away” those who may not fully grasp the content of their messages.

    All seemed right except I kept getting this kind of gnawing in my gut. This did not sit well with the Spirit of the Lord in me. I turned my focus away from this discussion and began to seek the Spirit of the Lord to show me what was happening from His perspective. The first thing I saw was men trying to resolve an issue without the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Not one of the leaders of this group suggested we pray for guidance and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. No one saw this issue as a spiritual one and consequently, did not seek a spiritual solution. It was an “I got this” mentality.

    This mentality was confirmed when I opened my mouth to address what the Spirit of the Lord was showing me. The collective attitude was that we did not “need” to waste God’s time on such “small” details. Keep in mind that our Savior, who was God made flesh, “needed” the direction of the Spirit of His Father in “every” situation, no matter how large or how small. Jesus said that He did “nothing” unless He “saw” His Father doing it and said “nothing” unless He heard it from His Father. This “I got this” attitude was not born from the Spirit of God but, more dangerously, it was born from the god of this world who rejects any and all submission to the authority of God. Whenever we dismiss something as being either too trivial or unimportant to go to God seeking His guidance, especially when what we are seeking to do is create some kind of “rule” or “guidelines” that will affect His children, we DARE NOT do this outside of His direct guidance.

    It would be like our teenaged children, deciding how to establish their own “guidelines” on how to deal with their much younger siblings, all “without” either the knowledge or approval of their parents. How much finger pointing do you suppose will result when things don’t go as planned? And what of the potential harm their “rules” will have on their siblings should they not abide by those rules. These teenagers have not lived long enough and have not garnered enough experience in their short lives to be able to “see” the end results of their “plans”. 

    This is precisely what Jesus was describing when He spoke of children playing in the marketplace. 
    Matthew 11:16-17 NKJV “ But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: ‘ We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.
    We make the “rules, laws, policies” without knowing or even conceiving what the ultimate consequences will be. We think we are wise enough to know but are sadly mistaken. What will happen to us and our rules when the Lord of all heaven and earth and under the earth comes and sets everything back in order…His order. Will we be ashamed? Will our rules betray the evil in our own hearts? Will we be found trying to establish a kingdom according to our own liking instead of establishing the kingdom of God according to His will?

    One of the most terrible things I have seen and found throughout my walk with the Lord is when men, even godly men, establish their own set of rules. Guidelines is usually what I hear but if anyone does not follow these “guidelines” to the letter, then they will be judged by these, suddenly called "rules”. Men with uncircumcised hearts seek to control everything and everyone around them in order to establish a “safe zone” to protect themselves from that which threatens every soul, rejection. We were born in rejection and have lived our entire lives outside of God’s Spirit until we are born again of His Spirit.

    Many, having not yet crucified the flesh, seek to control everything around them. Until the heart is truly circumcised and the flesh crucified by the Spirit, men will establish their own guidelines, rules, laws and policies, all without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For those who do have circumcised hearts, having crucified the flesh by the Spirit and walk in complete obedience to the Spirit of God, these know that it is not up to man to make law but only up to God and these can rest assured that as long as they are in submission to the Spirit of their Savior, He will be the One who will “protect” them and His work.

    We cannot see what is in the future and as such, we cannot see nor have the ability to understand the consequences of our labor. Only as we see and do what the Holy Spirit, who sees the end from the beginning, will we be able to REST in our labors without fear of UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

    Jerry Sundberg

    Soon after I received the Lord in 1976, I started receiving prophetic visions and warnings about the future of the church and the United States. I share my visions on my Hidden Manna websites and offer free of charge my two ebooks entitled “Hidden Manna” and “Hidden Manna 2”.

    Website: Hidden Manna

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