I remember fondly my art teacher from schooldays, whose great catchphrase was, “Rules are made for fools!” While this sounds like the slogan of an anarchist, he explained its meaning in simple terms. Most rules were the product of common sense and no sensible person would want to break them. So the Highway Code ensures that the rules of the road are commonly understood. When broken, accidents happen. They are often broken because of one person’s selfish need to serve their interests at the expense of other road users.
“Rules are made for fools” might offer a useful paraphrase here for Jesus’ teaching. Only as we discover the value of Jesus’ teachings can we begin to live in complete freedom. My prison is less bricks, mortar and bars but the thoughts that continually assault my mind, stirring up self-consciousness, fears and anxiety. My learning has been that God has my interests in hand, even though I cannot see my end from my beginning.
I take time in silence with God at the start of each day. As I focus on God, using the Jesus prayer to focus me upon my purpose, my mind unleashes hundreds of different thoughts, each seeking to capture my attention and distract me from God. If you have ever grown strawberries, you will know that the plants put out runners after fruiting. Simply pot these runners and you have yourself new strawberry plants for the next year. Like these runners, my mind gets captured by a thought and I begin to pot it and give it life of its own before recalling why I am taking this time in silence.
God wants his rules for life to establish themselves in our lives. For that to happen, we are to read scripture, pray and engage with others seeking to serve and follow God.