Still there were times that we had things that required our attention and they needed to keep themselves busy. For one of those times I taught them solitaire. Not the one on the Kindle or the computer, but the one using real cards. They ate it up and played for literally hours one afternoon while I did the laundry and cooked dinner. Once I was free again I sat down to see how they were doing.
"Good," one said. "We've been experimenting."
A little careful questioning told me what kind of "experiments" they were doing. You and I would call it "cheating." When every third card left them stuck, they changed it to every second card, and finally every single card, in an attempt to keep the game going. Another time instead of putting a red five on a black six at the "bottom" of a stack, they lifted the stack and put a red queen behind the black jack at the top. They thought it worked a whole lot better that way because they won more often and got more enjoyment out of it.
"You know you're not allowed to do that, right?"
"Nope. It's against the rules."
"Oh. We didn't know that."
After that, they cut out the "experimenting." They understood the concept of "rules" and "cheating," and that whether you liked it better or not was not the issue. The question is: are you playing solitaire or are you making up a whole new game you like better?
I know a few people who need that lesson. They decide that they don't like the way we worship, or the way the church does its business, or the life a Christian is expected to live. So they do some "experimenting" to find something they like better. Somehow it never crosses their mind that God ought to have a say in this, that He ought to be able to decide how He wants to be worshipped, how His kingdom ought to run, and the way His servants ought to live. Some of them may not have thought about that before, that God has the authority to tell us these things and expect us to conform to His rules. In fact, I have even heard one brother denigrate the idea of authority at all, as if it were rules people made up instead of God. I worry for that one. There are too many illustrations in the Old Testament of how God reacted to people who were presumptuous enough to change His commands and do as they pleased. God has not changed because we live under the New Covenant now.
So let's set the record straight here. God is the Supreme Authority. All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to Jehovah. All the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations (Psalm 22:27,28).
When it comes to the kingdom, He has given that authority to His Son. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all (Eph 1:22-23).
Jesus gave his apostles authority to tell us how to live and worship. And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matt 28:18-20). That you should remember…the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles (2Pet 3:2).
You may not like the rules. You may find other ways of doing things that you like better. But authority is authority and it won't go away just because you want to "experiment." My little guys understood that and they followed the rules the rest of their stay. It actually made winning a lot more satisfying than changing the rules so they could win. And that's only for a game. Trying to change God's rules is no game. Learn them, follow them, and then enjoy the win.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay. And again, The Lord will judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:26-31).