May 27, 2013: Go Play!

We took our son to a splash park tonight at a local mall, totally on a whim.  We knew he’d have a blast, so we finished up at our restaurant and promised that a “surprise” awaited him.  He was excited and very, very curious.  When he saw the fountains springing from the concrete and the myriad of children laughing, running, and playing, he knew just what he wanted to do.  With widened eyes, he said with extreme excitement, “Where’s my SWIMSUIT, I wanna PLAY!”  His joy gave us joy.  We said, “don’t worry about a swimsuit, we’ll just dry you off in the car.   Go and play!”

Micah was a little bewildered. “But I’ll get wet…I need my swimsuit.”  He knows that getting his clothes wet is a no-no at home, but in the midst of his worry about breaking our rules, he wasn’t embracing that the rule-makers were giving him permission to go and play.  He kept fretting about getting wet.  We said “go and play!”  He walked cautiously to the first fountain and gingerly stuck his toe into it, cautiously scanning our faces for the go-ahead.  Our smiles and nods told him that it was time to put his leg into the spewing water cannon emanating from the ground.  We said “go and play!”  He looked at us again, searching for permission to break the rules.  We again nodded and smiled.  We said “go and play!”  He interpreted this final nod as the greenlight for Operation Splashbody, running full-bore into the drenching center of the park: a pumping, pulsing urban geyser which soaks anyone who comes near.  He no longer looked for our approval of every step.  He finally stopped thinking of the rules and started listening to the call of the rule-maker: “Go and play!”

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4
We do the same thing with God all the time!  How often do we Christians spend so much time seeking to follow “the rules”…don’t do this, don’t do that.  Don’t drink, don’t chew, and don’t date the girls that do.  Rules are good guidelines.  Drinking can be harmful.  Chewing tobacco can lead to a lifetime of health problems.  Dating women who do both of these things will almost certainly result in a relationship full of second-hand bad breath.  So it’s good to be wary of these things.  However, we can get so focused on the rules that we forget the Rule-Maker.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  As long as we’re doing the first, we can be fully and finally free to do the second.  When we mature in Christ, we can stop focusing on the rules and start focusing on delighting ourselves in God and then just “go play.”
Instead of following rules, why don’t we spend our energies on loving God and developing greater intimacy with our Father…and then just doing whatever brings the greatest joy to our hearts?  I wonder if we would be more generous, more joyful, more filled with the Holy Spirit…if we would lean into Him and then just go play.
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