Living by the Rules

Walter Albritton



Life is a school in which we learn the rules for living. Successful living is achieved by following the rules. The best rules are the Bible’s Ten Commandments, God’s guidelines that have stood the test of time. Assuming we take seriously God’s commandments, there are other helpful principles for living we may learn through experience.

Perhaps you can identify with some of the valuable lessons for living that I have learned during my life’s journey, some of which originate in the Ten Commandments.

One, surrender the management of your life to God. Let God rule your life. Love God more than anything. The more you love God, the more you will submit to His authority. So that “God” is not an invisible, oblong blur, think of Him as a Person. That Person is Jesus, for it was Jesus who put a face on God. Remember: Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus loves you. So love Him supremely. You follow Jesus by loving Him. Your character is shaped by who you love.

Two, open your heart to Jesus. He wants to live in your heart. You are the temple of God. Make it a holy temple because the Bible tells us that is where Jesus wants to dwell. Welcome Him into your heart so He can cleanse, shape, guide and use you. Listen to Him. Obey Him. Serve Him. Joy comes from serving Him.

Three, ask Jesus to help you live your life in chapters. In life you have times of transition, pain, change, victory and defeat. You cannot always choose the circumstances of your life, but you can end one thing and begin something new. When you have a chapter of discouragement, Jesus can help you begin a new chapter of celebration.

Four, thank Jesus daily for transforming you into His likeness. That’s God’s goal for you; it’s called “sanctification.” Continually ask Jesus to convert your unconverted attitudes. For example, you may have a habit of becoming angry about what other people say and do to you. Ask Jesus to help you overcome that habit. How you react to other people is more important than what they say and do. You cannot control what other people do; you can decide how you will respond to their behavior. You cannot change others; you can let Jesus change you as you walk with him.

Five, allow Jesus to free you from perfectionism. He can help you make progress — not perfection — your goal. Refuse to burden yourself with the demand for perfection. Instead, aim to make a little progress each day and be at peace about your imperfections — and those of others as well.

Six, celebrate “excellent” mistakes. You make mistakes; we all do. But when you make one, inject a little humor into your guilt. Laugh at yourself, and invite others involved to laugh with you. Celebration helps you emerge a victor, not a victim. Jesus loves to help you celebrate his forgiveness and the strength he gives you to avoid repeating your mistakes.

Seven, ask Jesus to help you discard “if only” from your vocabulary. When you indulge in the use of “if only,” you are dodging responsibility for your mistake. Admit your blunder and move on. Jesus forgives you; forgive yourself. Decide to never begin another sentence with “if only.” You can do it — with the help of Jesus.

Eight, enjoy laughter every day. Humor is so important, you must look for it constantly. If you are having a really bad day, think of something funny that will provide a good laugh. If nothing comes to mind, take a look in a mirror. That works for me. Jesus had a sense of humor. Cultivate your own.

Nine, ask Jesus every morning to help you put on a happy face. If you are prone to be grumpy, stop living like that. It is a choice you can make. Nobody ever wakes up and says, “Today I hope I run into somebody who is complaining.” No one wants to be around you if you are constantly grouchy. Grumble less; smile more.

Ten, when the bottom falls out of your life, remember that winter doesn’t last forever. Turn to Jesus. Trust him. Ask him to give you the courage to face your hardships bravely. Jesus will let you know you are not alone. Give him your hand; ask him to hold it and walk with you. He will, and he’ll give you the strength to persevere — and the confidence that spring is on the way!


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