What are design laws?
Design laws are principles that God, our Creator, wove into the very fabric of reality. God created – and “it was good.” He designed everything to operate according to laws promoting healing, growth, fulfillment and peace. God is love, and nature is a beautiful reflection of his extravagance. When nature operates according to God’s design, it flourishes through giving. The water cycle is a good example. The ocean “gives” water through evaporation producing clouds, and the clouds give water that create rivers, which again pour water into the ocean. On the other hand, viruses is a biological form of selfishness. It doesn’t give anything and only takes for itself. White blood cells, on the other hand, operate on the principle of love by sacrificing themselves in order to save us.
When people act in selfish ways and become demanding takers, they will tend to destroy relationships. When we serve one another in love, relationships grow and blossom. This is how God designed things to work!
God’s sovereignty is not that he decides everything that happens on this earth. That would violate his own law of liberty (described below). Rather, he is sovereign by putting laws in place that promote life, success, and fulfillment. Design laws are part of a universal reality, just like the law of gravity. Whether I believe in the law of gravity or not, it will work for me! Defying design laws will eventually result in destructive consequences. God’s design laws have predictable results: when we conform to them and respect them, they lead to life and success; when we defy them, we tear our world down with our own hands. As a reflection of God’s nature, design laws reveal God’s incredibly loving intention for us. As we gain understanding of these principles, embrace them and learn to yield to them, our lives will prosper.
The Law of Love
God always operates in healing, uplifting, and selfless ways. Love means to do what is good regardless of how one feels. When we give to others we prosper. When we stop loving and giving, we deteriorate. The pool of water that stops flowing soon stagnates, while a flowing river breeds life.
Are negative things that happen in our lives the result of God’s punishment? Absolutely not! This belief goes against every evidence in nature, science, history, and Biblical truth. God’s love is pure and free from any form of agenda or force.
When negative things happen in our lives, we may feel grief, anxiety, depression, or a low sense of worth. These feelings are not evidence of God’s punishment or a sign that he has left us. They may be a result of how we or others have operated contrary to his design laws. But even in the middle of tragedies, God’s desire is to restore. The reason Jesus died for us was to deliver us out of a life of destruction and fear and restore us to love and dignity. Then, he gave us the Holy Spirit to live inside of us and his word to show us how to live in his purpose and design.
Love has counterfeits. Some people believe they love when they control others. A young woman sought counseling services whose boyfriend had threatened to kill himself if she left him. The boyfriend showed clear signs of unhealthy dependency and lowered himself to try to control instead of owning his own deep insecurities. Dependency happens when someone looks to another as the source of inner peace, security, well-being, or self-worth. God did not create us to be for another person that which he alone can be for us. A dependent person will have strong feelings for another, but he will often be erratic and unstable. Dependent individuals may sulk and act in very immature ways, which obviously destroys relationships. Because we were never created to be dominated by another person, this behavior will only result in resistance and a desire to leave. Love will die. This will often make the dependent person even more desperate to control. This kind of relationship goes south very fast! The dependent person’s need for further external validation is now even greater. I compare a person like this with a leaking bucket. No amount of validation and assurance will ever be enough. They take and take and continue to demand, but no attempt to assure them will fill the void.
Timothy Jennings says it this way: “Love heals, while dependency destroys. Love liberates, while dependency always seeks to control. Love gives, while dependency constantly takes. Love is fearless, while dependency is fear-ridden. Love is interested in another, while dependency focuses on self. Love is stable, while dependency wavers. Love is orderly and reliable, while dependency is chaotic and unreliable. Love is based on principle, while dependency is based on feelings. Love is consistent, while dependency is inconsistent. Love is honest and truthful, while dependency is dishonest and deceitful. Love is patient, while dependency is impulsive. Love is kind, while dependency is cruel. Love is forgiving, while dependency is resentful. Love protects, while dependency exploits. Love sacrifices self, while dependency sacrifices others. Love never ends, while dependency never lasts. And love never fails, while dependency never succeeds.” (2012)
The Law of Liberty
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor.3:17). God created us to be free and be able to respond to him out of a desire to know him. God never forces himself on us, and in order for our love for him to be authentic and real, it has to be free. He always works by bringing truth, love, and freedom. Then he gives us opportunity to evaluate and decide for ourselves if we want to trust him. Love requires freedom.
I speak with many who have lived with an abusive or controlling spouse. While under their spouse’s control, they were told what to wear, what they were allowed or not allowed to do. When someone is forced to respond, or repeatedly belittled and degraded, the result is disastrous. Spouses who are treated this way end up angry, resentful, and depressed. Human beings were never created to be dominated by each other, because not only does the violation of freedom destroy love, it leads to rebellion. If rebellion doesn’t restore freedom, individuality itself disappears and only empty shells of people remain. A person will lose the ability to think for herself, because all thoughts will be focused on trying to please the abuser and how to keep him from erupting. They are left in a perpetual state of fear, with no opinions, no choices, no opportunity to think for themselves. Often people believe that they are required by God or the church to stay in abusive marriages. But God never requires this! He always works to restore us and make us whole, therefore he wants us to separate from that which will destroy us. When staying in a marriage means being so controlled that it erases one’s individuality, then our responsibility is to get out! Some Christian men wrongly believe that their wives are to submit to them no matter what. This is unbiblical, and will result in the destruction of what God meant for both husbands and wives to be. For a wife to separate herself from abuse is the only way she can to be restored herself, and the only chance her husband has to wake up to the error of his ways. God’s way in marriage is for husbands to build up the individuality of his wife and support her in pursuing God’s purpose for her life.
Sometimes the violation of the law of liberty is not as obvious. One parent creates fear in her family by her frequent outbursts of anger or rage,and the rest of the family “walks on eggshells” in order to avoid setting her off. Relationships don’t function well under fear and intimidation. Spouses may withdraw or bury themselves in work, and children may leave the home early to escape the unhealthy environment.
God never forces himself on anyone. He operates perfectly in the law of liberty, and created us as autonomous individuals who think and decide for ourselves. He does not want us to surrender our minds blindly to him. We are called to be thinkers, not reflectors of other people’s opinions. God made us reason for ourselves, and to be self-controlled individuals who recognize his wisdom and choose to operate within his ways and methods of love, liberty and service to others.