Scientifically, humans are happier when they have shorter menus. Long menus present something called “opportunity paralysis” (also called “option paralysis,” “analysis paralysis,” etc.), which agonizes us. “So many choices…what if I make the wrong one?”
The old covenant was a system of rules and regulations, written in stone for all to see, in which you had to keep the letter of the law. There was no need to make decisions, as everything was pre-determined. You knew exactly what you were to do in any given situation; it was spelled out.
The new covenant is different. It’s a relationship in which you need to keep the spirit, rather than the letter. We are not bound by spelled-out precepts (rules) so much, but rather by overall principles. We’re told to action in our freedom to do good.
But too often we seek to infer new rules, so that we do not have to suffer opportunity paralysis. If we can just find the rules hidden between the lines, we don’t have to make as many decisions about what to do in any given situation.
Kent West, of the “Westing Peacefully” website, notes the following:
Hebrews 8 declares:
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares YHWH: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [ie. RELATIONSHIP] 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ [NOT RULES] for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. [BUT RELATIONSHIP]
But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God. [SPIRIT, NOT LETTER OF THE LAW] (Rom 2)
“But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.” [SPIRIT, NOT LETTER OF THE LAW] (Rom 7:6)
Have you seen people trying to infer the letter of the law where it no longer exists? I’ve been one of those people. Bondage is easy, but as we grow stronger, freedom enables us to become overwhelming conquerors.
With love, always,