My wife and I have a puppy. Her name is Abby, short for Abacus. Abby is a wire-haired Terrier-Schnauzer mix. She is small, but mostly not annoying. Full of energy, but likes to snuggle, and she’s very loving. I try to take her on two or three short walks around our complex a day. She loves being outdoors and is constantly running to smell every bush. Unfortunately, she is running in place because Abby weighs 12 pounds and I weigh in at around 240, making it difficult for her to make any headway. Abby will often bolt away from me and get yanked back when her leash is fully extended and look at me as if to say, “Why did you do that?” Other times in her frantic motion forward, I will hear her panting and hacking as the harness compresses her tiny esophagus.
Many of us Christians live like Abby, frantically running about trying to do everything we can, getting exhausted, over-extended, and sore. Like Abby we try to test our limits; we will see how far we can push the boundaries before we feel the backlash. This works out through questions like:
“When does it become wrong to check out a woman other than my wife?”
“How far can go before it’s considered sex?”
“How much can I drink before I’m drunk and it’s a sin?”
Now these questions, in and of themselves, are not wrong. The determining factor? Motive. Are you trying to figure out how far you can go so you can “have some fun” with a clear conscience, or are you trying to set up healthy boundaries in your life? Boundaries are good; pushing the limits… dangerous. Any parent who has said to their children, “Don’t touch that — it’s hot!” only to watch their kids touch the stove knows what I am talking about. How much better would it be if they simply listened and were obedient?
If Abby did, she would pant less, receive treats and positive verbal affirmation. If a dog receives that from me, how much greater will our rewards be from the God who love us?
I’m not saying obey God to see what blessings you receive. I am saying that you should seek God’s presence in your life. Don’t dart out of it and come back limping. Stay with Him, abide in Him, let His Spirit transform you into the image of His Son. Stop pushing the limits, listen to His voice through His Word through proper teaching and prayer.
Life lived in the unique limits that God has set for you is a life filled with joy: not absent of pain, but bearable through hope and grace and the knowledge that He has a plan.
I would love to see Christians falling in love with their Master’s voice, walking at His side, and doing His work rather than choking themselves into exhaustion. It’s time to make a change. What will you choose?