When I was a college student (pretty much right at the start of purity culture) it was common to hear things like:

Christians should not marry non-Christians.

or

You should not have sex before marriage. 

And whenever those types of statements were made, the response was predictable:

No sex before marriage? Well, can we hold hands? Can we kiss? Can we …

The question was basically always getting at, “if that is the line you have set, how close to it can I go without violating your rule? (or God’s)”

And this just isn’t a religious thing:

The speed limit is 55mph. 

“Well how fast can I go over before I get a ticket? Will the police stop me if I go 60? 63?”

The thing is, we don’t really care about the rule…if you said we could drive 80, we’d drive 80….the rule is something someone else has enforced on us. So our concern tends to be what happens to me if and when I break the rule. (Now there may come a time, where an incident occurs that wouldn’t have occurred had everyone been driving the speed limit and we become sticklers for the rules, but that is not the case generally.)

While we don’t like being bound, or limited by rules, being bound by love is different. Imagine taking your vows on your wedding day and on your honeymoon asking your spouse, “I know I said I will always be faithful, but what does that mean to you? Would it be okay if I were to go on vacation with other people? Perhaps an occasional date? Where is your boundary line? I don’t want to cross it, but how close can I get to it?.

No one has a child and asks, “what is the least I can do to be a good parent?” 

Where rules put restrictions on us that we tend to chafe against, we will make incredible sacrifices for love.

Picture a huge green field…it has fruit trees, it has a running stream, it has everything you need. Love runs around looking to learn and experience everything it can…the other walks along the fence, wondering what life is like on the other side.

Where love is involved, we look to the centre…to the object of our love and think about how we can please this one we are sharing love with.

Is our relationship with God based on rules or is it based on love?

This is what I’ve been thinking about this weekend.

Image by Ted Browning from Pixabay