Finding Joy in Playing by the Rules

by Kristie Anyabwile July 8, 2024
“but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2 (ESV)

My neighborhood recently installed speed bumps. At first, I was happily relieved because they encourage responsible driving and help keep our neighborhood safe. But they have also become pretty annoying.

I try to drive over them carefully, but the bumps jostle my coffee. They seem to punish responsible drivers because of the offenses of a few. Instead of embracing why it’s good to have them, I’ve found myself navigating around them at times.

The speed bumps (and my reactions to them) have reminded me we’ve got this weird double standard with rules — they’re cool if they suit us but a nuisance when they don’t. We’re all guilty of this dance with rules. Some we follow dutifully; others we brush off like they're no big deal. The rules that cause inconvenience, don’t seem to apply to our situation, or don’t make sense to us often feel burdensome.

But God doesn’t stand for our fickleness with His rules. When it comes to His law, He's got one simple expectation: obedience fueled by delight.

How is it possible for God’s laws to bring delight to the people commanded to keep them? It’s not just about being happy — it’s about being eager and joyful in doing what God asks of us. We find this delight in our heavenly Father, who asks us to love, give, sacrifice and even suffer for Him.

We don’t glory in pain. We glory in God, who suffers with us.

We don’t gloat about our love. We gloat about God’s love poured into our hearts by His Spirit.

We don’t sacrifice to bring attention to ourselves. We bring all attention to Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

Scripture also helps us with our heart posture toward God’s commands. In Deuteronomy 30:11-20, Moses exhorted the Israelites to choose life by obeying God's commands, emphasizing that obedience leads to blessing.

Similarly, Psalm 1:2 celebrates God’s law as a source of delight and wisdom: “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

If we know God is good and all He does is good, we can delight in the reality that God’s laws are good for us. They reflect God’s standard of holiness and perfection, keep us from sin, and show us our hearts so we might repent, walking in a manner worthy of those who have put their faith in Christ.

By slowly and consistently meditating on God’s commands, reading, memorizing and remembering His Word throughout our day, we’ll see the joyful blessings God intends for us through our obedience. We’ll grow in intimacy with the Lord — knowing Him better, loving Him more deeply, and finding great joy in playing by God’s rules.

God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for giving me commands to obey that are good for me. Direct me in the path of Your commands, where I find joy and grace from You. Teach me to meditate on Your Word throughout my day so I might walk in joyful obedience. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Have you ever skipped over or given up on books of the Bible like Numbers or Leviticus? These laws, rules and rituals can feel daunting and confusing. Kristie Anyabwile invites you to join her in understanding the often-overlooked Old Testament books of the law with her new six-week Bible study, Delighting in God’s Law: Old Testament Commands and Why They Matter Today. You don't have to be daunted by His law. You can be delighted by it!



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Deuteronomy 30:14-16, “But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. ‘See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it'” (ESV).

Reflect on your attitude toward God’s commands. Are there areas where you need to renew your commitment to delight in His commands? Share with us in the comments!

© 2024 by Kristie Anyabwile. All rights reserved.

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