When we moved to our small community a few years ago, one of the things I appreciated most about our new home was the big, beautiful backyard. One of the best features of our backyard is the surrounding fence.
I’m certain they could climb over the fence if they really wanted to, but we’ve made it clear that the child who chooses to breach this barrier without permission will face serious consequences.
So, the physical barrier of our rickety fence serves as a constant reminder to stay inside where it is “safe.”
But as much as I love our fence, it can only protect my children if they obey me by staying inside its confines. The fence is no longer useful should they decide to venture outside of it!
And I’ve seen him, my youngest son, four years old, eyeing the gate from time to time…looking for the greener grass.
What would happen if he chose to leave the security and protection of our fenced backyard for the greener grass? Perhaps nothing, at first.
In fact, we may not even catch him doing it.
Escaping negative consequences, he would likely decide to slip out unnoticed again….and again… and yet again… until one time, he happens to find himself suddenly facing grave danger.
And like disobedient Peter Rabbit suddenly face-to-face with the Gardener, he quickly understands the reason behind the boundary, the one he crossed without permission, the one meant to protect him, not to ruin his fun.
But it’s too late.
The damage is done and now he must deal with the consequences, whatever they might be.
Does the story sound familiar? It reminds me of Eden. God gifted Adam and Eve with a panoramic paradise, a perfect relationship to enjoy, and a life of ease with all of their needs provided for.
And he gave them one rule. One.
The scripture records that before they disobeyed, Adam and Eve walked around naked and felt no shame.
Can you imagine? Feeling no shame? Ever? We’d be like toddlers running naked after a bath, full of joy and exuberance, not a care in the world
Total freedom and wild abandonment.
That, my friends, was God’s original desire for us: to live a free and abundant life of pleasure in a world of paradise!
But we chose our own way.
When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the whole world changed.
They abandoned the the protection of the “fence” to venture out on their own and the consequences were immediate and disastrous: separation from God.
Imagine the sorrow of a Father God sending his beloved children away from garden, knowing that for the time being, they would suffer and struggle, knowing also that one day, His only Son would pay a terrible price for their single indiscretion.
One rule; one choice.
Imagine the despair of being forced from that beautiful paradise, and the weight of knowing evil for the first time.
How often are we like these original sinners, that curious four-year-old? We fail to understand the reasoning behind the boundaries God sets for us. Instead, we seek the illusion of greener grass.
Like the four-year-old investigator, we might not see the danger lurking at first. We might not suffer any harm, or so we think.
But each time we leave those boundaries that our loving Father set to protect us, we take a bigger risk. And one time, we’ll have gone too far.
We’ll find ourselves face to face with danger, with the serpent, with Satan.
With His lies, he ensnares.
He promises freedom, but delivers slavery.
My friends, why oh why do we choose to leave the protection of the fence?
There isn’t any greener grass; in fact, it’s a hollow deception, a mirage. What lies on the other side of that lovingly placed boundary is…
That movie that we really shouldn’t watch, that book we shouldn’t read, that person we shouldn’t be with, that substance we so desire, all provide satisfaction that is only temporary at best, not forever paradise.
The choice to willingly disobey only brings us danger and heartache and burdens, so many burdens.
And each time we venture out, we risk more.
We risk a reputation, a relationship, a marriage, a child, a ministry, sometimes even our very lives.
The truth is, the only green grass we’ll find in life, the only abundant paradise, is right within our Father’s fence.
His boundaries exist for us, not against us; for our benefit, not our detriment; for our protection, not our suffocation; and only because…
Like a parent looking after a beloved child, He gently guides us away from evil in this world, if we allow Him.
So, the next time you think you see a prime piece of greener grass just over the boundary, remember Who built the fence and why He built it. Remember that what He most desires for you is life abundant.
If you choose to stay inside the protection of the fence, the only thing you’ll missing out on is the Serpent’s deceit and the slavery that follows.
Choose freedom. Choose abundance. Choose life.
Only because of Christ,