Growing up in Indiana all my life, there have been countless times where some outing or activity has required me to travel on “The Loop” – the local name for I-465, a massive 3-to-6-lane highway that encompasses the downtown Indianapolis area. By some madness (or because of on-ramps I suppose), the speed limit on this superhighway is 55 MPH, but no one ever, ever abides by that.
In fact, I’m pretty sure you’d have to be going against traffic, sacrificing a goat, or wielding a machete—possibly all three at the same time— to get pulled over on 465. The cops frequenting that highway just don’t seem bothered at all that everyone does between 65-70 MPH at any given time.
While sailing down The Loop one day on the way back from visiting a friend, I watched a cop breeze past me doing at least 80, while other drivers around him were going close to 85, and I was struck by the realization that there are some rules we just naturally don’t obey. Even with a hard-and-fast speed limit, on any given road there’s the unspoken rule that going “five over” isn’t punishable. Technically, it’s breaking the law, but there’s an understanding in place. In fact, in Indiana, there’s a new law that if you’re not doing five over in the fast lane, you can get pulled over!
We play loose with a lot of rules, especially in modern society. Not picking up after our dogs on walks, loitering, jaywalking—let’s face it, we’ve all bent the law at some point. But even in our rush to get home, to keep walking the dog, to cross the street, etc., we do ourselves a disservice if we ever forget why those laws are in place. The amount of times the local news has played stories of cars completely totaled in 70 MPH wrecks on The Loop while harried motorists were trying desperately to cross five lanes of traffic to reach their exit is just sobering.
The entire universe operates on a system of natural and supernatural laws. The Law of Gravity is one we really don’t have a choice but to abide by. On the other hand, the supernatural laws—God’s laws—aren’t a ball-and-chain. We aren’t forced into purity, clean speech, or holiness of thought. We can play loose with those laws if we choose to, but like a speed limit, they are in place for a reason.
Our actions have consequences, some of which are readily apparent. Others have fallout we can’t fathom at the time, with effects that ripple out both in the physical and spiritual realms. That’s when we really have to trust God and trust His laws…trust that they were put in place not to hinder us, but to help us. To keep us from wrecking out at 70 MPH and possibly taking innocent people down with us in a blaze of regret.
In the end, it never benefits us to curb our obedience to God’s laws. These guardrails and guidelines are there for our spiritual and physical safety; our loving Father put them in place to keep us clean, pure, and safe. And while the laws of man can be unjust, unwarranted, and even cruel, the laws of God are always righteous, necessary, and fair. They’re there for our protection, and for the safety of others who can be harmed by our sin in ways we just don’t foresee.
It’s true that speeding toward something, cutting corners, and playing loose with the laws can get us where we’re going faster—but only God’s way is guaranteed to get us there in one piece!