My son's dog, Buddy, goes out back on a long lead when he goes outside. We hook him up and he goes about 40-50 feet out until it tugs on his collar and he knows where his boundaries are. There is a little circular path where he has walked back and forth. He rarely has a tug on his collar anymore - he is very aware of how far he can go before the tug happens!
The other day, Buddy's lead was broken and we couldn't get it to hook onto his collar. I let him out and just stood there, watching him to make sure he didn't go too far. Well, he didn't. It was as if he still had his lead on him. I was amazed at how he continued walking the exact same path, no further. He didn't even try to go any further than his boundaries. He was content with the familiar and he was trained to be bound. I don't even think he realized the chain was gone! I thought for sure that Buddy would realize he was free and that he would run like the wind, well past his normal boundaries. But he didn't. It was quite intriguing. And then it got me thinking...
It kind of reminded me of how I can be sometimes. It is for freedom that Christ has set me free, according to Galatians 5:1. But free from what? Do I act as if I'm free all the time? Not so much. I have been not only saved from sin but I've been set free not to sin and yet often I stay in the same place, wandering on the well-trodden path that I've made just inside my boundaries of the world. It's as if I don't realize the chain has been snapped and I'm free to go beyond these walls of bondage - but I just don't see it.
How often do I continue to have the same negative thoughts when things get tough? How often do I worry and complain? How often do I make the wrong choice because the right one just seems too hard to make? Every time I decide to willfully sin, I'm acting as if I'm still in chains, still a prisoner to the very sin that Jesus set me free from on the day I received His promise! Why do I do this?
Maybe it's because, like Buddy, I am comfortable and it is familiar? I've been trained to be bound. Maybe I am afraid to go beyond the "normal" and experience Christ's freedom? I mean, what might He ask me to do out there? What might I encounter? No matter what, I only know that today I want to go beyond. I want to experience the freedom Christ died to give me! I'm reminded that He is with me and He is guiding me - He says He will never leave me or forsake me...do I believe this?
Go beyond, my friend. Choose wisely today. Give Him the opportunity to show you how freedom feels and trust Him to help you choose. The world believes that freedom is being able to sin; that being "free" means we can do whatever our sinful nature wants. But that will always keep us bound in chains. It's not very challenging to go with the flow, to continue to make the choices we used to make that were easy to make but left huge, painful consequences. We think that's adventure? No way. It's much bolder and a lot gutsier to go past the boundaries and break free from the chains that sin has bound us with into the new life of freedom Christ promised us! Now that's adventure.
Buddy did the right thing by staying in the safety of his boundaries. But we do the right thing by running free, far past the world's boundaries that we used to be bound to! Christ has broken the chains, my friend! True freedom comes when we realize that we are free not to sin. Our freedom is exhibited best when we walk in the Truth - the new life He has given us - the freedom that comes when we choose what, in our own power, would be impossible.
Romans 6:14-18 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace. Well then, since God's grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don't you realize that you become a slave of whatever you choose to obey?
You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin and you have become slaves to righteous living!