I have a four-year-old son. He sometimes makes... let's call them "interesting" choices. In the middle of summer, he elects to put on long-sleeve fleece pajamas, even when it makes him miserably hot. He puts his shorts on backwards because "he likes them better that way." I know it makes him uncomfortable. Sometimes he changes them back around and sometimes he lets his pride rule and he sticks it out.
My wife and I let him make these silly choices and live with the results. Usually, he figures out on his own why we suggest he do something a particular way - mom and dad have a way of knowing what's best. We've been around the block a time or two.
Let me share another story before I get to the point. Once, I took a group of kids to hear Congressman Roy Blunt speak at a local event. In his speech, he said something that I've shared many times since. I'll try to recreate the essence of his words:
There's an order to things. You're supposed to graduate from school and then go on to do whatever it is that you are going to do - college or career. Once you get going there, you meet someone and you get married. You get your lives started, you careers started, get yourselves established. And then you have kids. That's they way you are supposed to do it. You can do it differently, but it's harder. When you get those steps out of order, it creates difficulty in your life, challenges that you have to overcome. You make your own life more difficult by changing up the order.
The Bible is full of rules. The Jews, living under the laws of the Old Testament, had more than 600 rules to follow! I was reading one in study this morning - don't boil a young goat in his mother's milk. An interesting law, to be sure!
You can deviate from the law and do things you own way. Just like my son can wear his fleece-lined PJs backwards to bed in 90 degrees of summer... you may be satisfied to have done it your way, but you might eventually find yourself living with the unintended consequences of your decisions.
God doesn't give us laws to make our lives hard or to rule over us with an iron fist. He gives us rules for our protection, for our benefit. When we follow His divine order, our lives are made easier, our relationships with people better, and our path straighter and more worry-free.
Fortunately for us, Jesus came to this earth not only to die for our sins (for which we cannot ever be grateful enough!) but also to clarify and simplify the rules. We don't have to observe 600+ separate commandments and comb through Leviticus to make sure we're following every one strictly. But the orders of God that stand, laws about giving Him the proper respect and showing love and kindness and forgiveness to one another, are guaranteed to give us a better quality of life.
If you have found yourself outside of God's divine order, living life your own way, perhaps you should give God's way a try... I know you'll find it a better way to live!