When we recently moved into our new third-floor apartment, we somehow misplaced our dog leash. When you live in an apartment with a dog, a leash is not optional... doggie's gotta take a walk! ...So my wife went to the store and bought a leash. It's about five feet long, and the poor dog kept getting halfway down the stairs before I even got a step or two down, and then I had to run to keep up with him on the way to the doggie potty area. This was not optimal, so I went to the store to look for another leash.
The one I bought is fifteen feet long and retractable. It has a button on it so I can freeze it at any length I want (it's saved the dog from several run-ins with other dogs and one potentially fatal double-team cat attack!) and it allows him to run around a little more without me having to run too... this is VERY important in the 100°+ temperatures we've been having this summer! I'm sweating just thinking about it!
The funniest thing happens when we get out on the grass. My dog has 15 feet in any direction that he can go without me even moving. That's a thirty-foot radius he can run around in, sniff around in, and do you-know-what in. But it seems like no matter where I stop walking, my dog wants to go somewhere outside of that circle! He seems pretty much ready to strangle himself into unconsciousness if that's what it takes to get where he wants to "go" (which, no matter where he is, is somewhere else). Usually I give up and walk around with him, but I wish he would just operate within the freedom that I give him. I'm not trying to restrict him; in fact, I bought him a longer leash so he would have more freedom. If I let him go where he wanted to go, he would get run over by a car or banged up by a terrified cat.
People often ask questions about what behavior the Bible says is acceptable. Is it okay for me to drink a beer? Is this outfit too revealing? How far can I go with my girlfriend in romantic moments? Honestly, the Bible doesn't always have precise answers for those specific questions, but the Word of God does contain guidelines for a lot of situations. The Old Testament in particular contains some pretty restrictive rules; God gave Israel a short leash. When Jesus came, He made it clear that He had written those rules on our hearts... we don't necessarily have to think about right and wrong, because we know right from wrong by the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of us. We have a longer leash. And in reality, it's no leash at all... if we choose to move out of the circle of the Grace of God and into the darkness of sin, we are able to do that at any time. But if we stay within the boundaries of what the Word of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit tells us, without "going" out where we have no "business" being - doggie puns intended - if we stay within God's Grace, we also stay within His protection.
Years ago when I was a teenager, my youth pastor used to tell this short story. "'Mama! Mama! Why do I keep falling out of bed?' the baby monkey asked. 'Honey, it's because you stay too close to where you got in!'" Don't flirt with sin. That's the old you, the you that existed before you met Jesus. The edges of what is right are not a place to explore. There's plenty of freedom in Christ; there's too much at stake to push boundaries when God has already placed everything you need within reach!
4 months ago