This week my husband and I have had the joy and privilege of having 6 of our grandchildren with us. Before they arrived we set a plan for each day as well as some ground rules. We gave them certain boundaries for their own protection.
When I was growing up the entire society practiced those same beliefs. We had dress standards at school, and believe me if we didn’t meet those standards we were sent home! Girls were required to wear a dress or skirt – they had to be long enough and modest…not too tight. The boys had to wear collared shirts (tucked in) and pants with a belt. I recall girls being sent home if their dresses were too short – they held strictly to their rules. The truth is that as long as we stayed within the boundaries we were free to wear what we wanted.
Sometime in the early 70’s a boy fought for “freedom” to dress as he pleased – claiming his constitutional right to have freedom of speech (or expression) – he won the case and the dress standards went away; to many folks that seemed like a great victory – now everyone had “freedom.”
Now let’s fast forward a few years…today most schools require students to wear a uniform to school. Students have NO FREEDOM to dress as they please – they must wear a specific color, type of shirt and pant. I believe this is the perfect example of the fact that boundaries and standards give us freedom and are not a form of bondage as many folks believe.
There seems to be a new generation of Christians that believe that standards are crippling their freedom to express their hearts. Christians have liberty – that is true – however those that believe liberty means no boundaries, or living just like the world are of the same mindset as those that led to the bondage of uniforms in the public school system. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” I Corinthians 10:23, 24 In other words – as a Christian I certainly can do whatever I please – I will not lose my salvation, I will remain a child of God, and still be able to go to Heaven, however just because I CAN do things, doesn’t mean that in doing them I am doing what is best for myself or more importantly the very lost souls I am here to try to reach for Christ.
It is better for the world to see that there is a difference between the lost and the saved! And quite frankly as Christians our lives should reflect our Saviour. We should understand that we are free from the desire for those things that are not in our best interest, or that would cause the lost to stumble at our actions or behavior. It is a funny thing how that people that are not Christians always seem to know how Christians should behave!
The truth is true freedom is only found when there are boundaries and protection from harm. Think of babies – would any good parent simply allow their baby to just go outside with no restrictions at all? CPS would remove a child from the home that maintained that type of practice towards their children…so why is it questioned when the pastor wants to encourage a safe environment for the members of the church God has called him to oversee? Jesus said in John 8:31, 32, 36, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” In the Book of Psalms we see that we can be free what we seek God’s Word… “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.” Psalm 119:45 Our freedom is promised when we continue in God’s Word…that in itself indicates that freedom is always found when there are safeguards or boundaries that will protect us from danger!
I had this thought the other as I passed a yard with a dog that was on a chain along with another dog that had no chain. There was a fence around the yard to keep the dogs in, and to keep passers by safe! (I have not had the best experiences with dogs - bitten 3 times!). The owner said that the dogs were free to roam the yard, however the one with the chain was not content to stay within the set boundaries – so he had to be chained so that he would not jump the fence and face the certain danger of the traffic like one of his previous dogs had done that was killed by a car.
Of course we know this is true with the law, we are free to live within the law – but if we break the law we are judged and become in bondage (or imprisoned). As Christians we are free from the bondage of sin – we are free from the penalty of sin, and the boundaries that God sets forth in His Word are for our protection to keep us free from the bondage that sin will certainly bring.
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Corinthians 9:27
Thank God I am free, free, free
From this world of sin.
I've been washed in the blood of Jesus,
I’ve been born again.
Hallelujah, I’m saved, saved, saved
By His wonderful grace.
I’m so glad that I found out
He could bring me out
And show me the way.
Ladies, let’s remember that freedom is not found in the world’s view of freedom – life with no boundaries, but rather freedom is granted when we follow the way God has shown us to live!
Have a wonderful day!