When we first moved to our small community, one of the things I appreciated most about our new home was the big, beautiful backyard surrounded by a brown picket fence. The security of a fence gave this mama of four much peace of mind!
At the time, our little ones could climb over the fence if they really wanted to, but we made it clear that the child who chose to breach that barrier without permission would face serious consequences.
So, the physical barrier of our fence served as a constant reminder to stay inside where it is “safe.”
But as much as I loved our fence, it could only protect my children if they obeyed me by staying inside its confines. The boundary was no longer useful should they decide to venture outside of it!
The Dangers of Greener Grass
And I’ve seen him, our littlest boy, eyeing the gate from time to time…looking for the proverbial 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 right away.
Escaping negative consequences, he would likely decide to slip out unnoticed again….and again… and yet again… until one time, he ventures far enough 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.
A Biblical Perspective on Boundaries
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.
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.
But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die. Genesis 2:17 (NIV)
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 boundary to venture out on their own, embracing the dangers of greener grass.
The consequences were immediate and disastrous: separation from God.
Imagine the sorrow of a Father God sending his beloved children away from the 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.
Imagine the despair of being forced from that beautiful paradise, and the weight of knowing evil for the first time.
One rule; one choice.
How often are we like these original sinners, or 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 fail to 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.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 (NIV)
The Truth about Greener Grass
My friends, why oh why do we choose to leave the protection of the fence? Why do we ignore God’s carefully placed boundaries?
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 you really shouldn’t watch, that book you shouldn’t read, that person you shouldn’t be with, that unhealthy substance you so desire, all provide satisfaction that is only temporary at best, not forever paradise. Your choice to willingly disobey only brings you danger, heartaches and burdens, so many burdens.
And each time you venture out, you risk more. You risk a reputation, a relationship, a marriage, a child, a ministry, sometimes even your very life.
God’s Boundaries Protect Us
The truth is, the only green grass you’ll find in life, the only abundant paradise, is right within our Father God’s fence. His boundaries exist for you, not against you; for your benefit, not your detriment; for your protection, not your suffocation.
Like a parent looking after a beloved child, He gently guides you away from evil in this world, if you allow Him.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes. Psalm 19:7-8 (NIV)
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3 (NIV)
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. Remember the dangers of greener grass!
If you choose to stay inside the protection of the fence, the only thing you’ll miss out on is the Serpent’s deceit and the slavery that follows.
Here’s a great article with tips on dealing with temptation!
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