Read Colossians 2:20-23
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as,21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. (NLT)
We can get some crazy ideas about following Jesus. In one of the early Christian schools a young man was given these instructions: coloured clothing must go; stop sleeping on a soft pillow; sell your musical instruments; don’t eat white bread; don’t take warm baths; don’t shave your beard. And there was lots more.
Going overboard about rules and regulations has a long history. More recently, in my own childhood, there was the rule that women wore hats to church and it was somehow sinful to throw a ball around in your front yard on Sunday.
Rules and regulations have their place. They can help us stay attuned to God and help us live in peaceable community with others. We are not free simply to do as we please. But if those rules become the essence of our faith, they are a menace. Rules can be a helpful means to an end, but are not to be an end in themselves.
If a rule or a habit or a tradition help us maintain healthy relationship with God and others, well and good. But if they become sources of pride or become bothersome burdens, then they actually harm our relationship with God. Our faith rests on putting our trust in a particular person not any particular rule.