When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord. Psalm 119:52
I was sitting in the waiting room while my sister was in day surgery. An elderly woman struck up a conversation with me. I knew immediately from her face, she was wise. She told me she’d been a teacher in the inner city for years before retiring. We talked about the direction of schools today, and a headline about a recent violent incident in one of the local schools. She shook her head and said, “Back when I began to teach, everyone knew the rules. The kids were taught right from wrong. There was a moral code.”
Not so today, is it? Kids, and yes us adults, exist better in clearly set boundaries. There is an ancient saying that goes something like this – the dog who knows his fenced in boundaries runs free, but the dog who tries to escape is tied up. Freedom is not running willy-nilly, but being able to move freely within your parameters.
Jesus came to set us free- but not so we could do what we wanted without consequences. The freedom He offers has rules – Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and mind . . . and love thy neighbor as thyself. (Matthew 22:37-39) In response to that love, we obey God’s commandments and have the freedom to walk in fellowship with the Creator of the Universe and the King of Kings because Christ has paved the way for us to come clean with God. Pretty good trade off for following the rules, isn’t it?
In my life, as much as I cherish the freedoms, I have learned to rely on and be thankful for the boundaries God has placed in my life – sometimes. Like the dog in the fenced yard, I am happiest when I forget what lies beyond and am not lured to jump that fence. Trusting in God to provide all I need is the freedom, knowing his rules is the reason I am not chained.