Jesse sat cross-legged, mesmerized by the dancing campfire enjoying its crackle and smoky aroma. He remembered watching fire dancers. If he could twirl fire, he’d show the school hotshots. He didn’t realize how close he’d inched to the fire until he heard his dad’s sharp voice.
“Don’t get too close. Fire can pop and spread.” His father pointed to the circle he’d marked. “Never cross this line without supervision.”
One night, while Jesse’s parents talked, he slipped out of his sleeping bag and crept to the backside of the fire. Making sure no one was looking, he tiptoed past his dad’s boundary. He picked up a stick and tried to extract a burning log. Losing his balance he thrust out a hand to catch himself. Sparks ignited his sleeve. Screaming, he fled, but flames raced up his clothing.
His father flung his jacket over him and smothered the flames. He gently carried him to their van. The ride to the hospital was a blur.
Despite months of painful medical attention, ugly blotches replaced the smooth skin of his hands and arm. The sunshine he used to enjoy now stung his tender skin. Instead of gaining respect, he’d lost the simple pleasures he’d taken for granted. He winced at the sight of his father’s scarred hands—scars that came from rescuing him.
What’s the Purpose of God’s Limits?
Have you noticed the parallels between our bodies and souls? They both need rest, nourishment, and protection. We can’t see our souls, but our choices can scar them too. And souls outlast physical bodies.
Sin destroys as surely as fire. Remember James’s warning.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death (James 1:14 NLT).
Eve lived in a world with only one wrong choice. You know the story. The devil made that one restriction seem like the only thing worth desiring. He started the lie that God’s limits restrict instead of reward.
We all–including the Savior—wear the scars of Adam and Eve’s rebellion. Wrong choices call from every corner. If eating a piece of forbidden fruit could cause such havoc in a perfect place, do we think we’ll be the first to play with sin and not get burned?
I read on Facebook these words from the Andy Griffith show.
When Barney told Andy he should just let Opie “decide for himself” how he wanted to live… Andy had these words of wisdom.
“No, I’m afraid it don’t work that way. You can’t let a young’n decide for himself. He’ll grab at the first flashy thing with shiny ribbons on it. Then, when he finds out there’s a hook in it, it’s too late. Wrong ideas come packaged with so much glitter that it’s hard to convince ‘em that other things might be better in the long run. All a parent can do is say ‘wait’ and ‘trust me’ and try to keep temptation away.”
Like the serpent of old, today’s culture dangles shiny ribbons just outside God’s limits. It hands our children burning sticks and dares them to dance. It paints God’s boundaries as cruel thieves of pleasure and fulfillment. We need a sure compass.
God’s holy love is that compass, for God’s limits are loving. Real pleasure and fulfillment are found only within His protective will. And our great High Priest stands ready to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-18).
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Resources: God’s Limits
- Focus on the Family shared this Youtube presentation by Jackie Hill Perry on Leaving Homosexuality and Finding Forgiveness.
- Did you know that paganism is growing in popularity? Sounds eerily similar to apostate Judah before her collapse (Jere. 17:2-3).
- How You View God Matters When You Face Temptation
- Biblical Encouragement
The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much pure gold;
Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, Your servant is warned by them;
In keeping them there is great reward (Ps. 19:7-11 NASB).