We just got a puppy. He’s three pounds of fluffy spunk, and the whole family is in love.
He’s a puppy. By nature that means he’s not just adorable but also naughty.
He chews on our shoes. He digs holes in the grass. He tries to escape through a gap under our fence.
We know because he’s done it twice already.
So while it’s great entertainment watching our pooch chase a ball across the back yard, we don’t often let him roam without a leash. Because he’s stealthy—and curious about anything off limits.
Are you, too?
I think sometimes the Christian life is like my back yard, and I’m the scrawny dog.
God says stay inside the fence, my child. But I wonder what’s beyond it.
What magnificent satisfaction might be awaiting me if only God hadn’t given me these stifling rules?
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22).
Yes, Lord, but don’t you know what a jerk my husband is being right now? I totally want a pass on that command today.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” (Ephesians 4:29).
Sure, but I’d feel a lot better if I could just spout off what I’m thinking at this moment!!
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Are you sure you meant that, Lord? Because every inch of my flesh wants to hold a seething, festering grudge. Forgiveness is hard, man! It’s unnatural!
I just want to scale the darn fence and get out of here!!
Ah. Here’s the thing. I know something my puppy doesn’t know. Beyond our cruel fence is the neighbor’s yard—and his grizzly 60-pound bulldog. That thing would eat my puppy for lunch.
So we keep our little guy confined within limits, where we toss him Frisbees and feed him puppy treats. Inside these boundaries he is nurtured, loved, and empowered to grow.
It’s the same with us and God.
We may think we want to step outside His parameters for godly living, as though freedom from those frustrating “rules” will make us happier or wiser. But they won’t.
Just ask Eve, for crying out loud.
You want to stray from God’s commands? He’ll still love you, yes of course. But then His protection makes way for His discipline—and we all know how fun that is.
So from now on, anytime you’re tempted to disobey God’s Word, try this. Picture what’s beyond the fence—a drooling, gnarling beast ready to pounce and devour. And get back in your own blessed yard.
(If you actually own a bulldog, forgive me. I’m totally stereotyping. I’m sure your pooch is very nice. Let’s be friends.)
God’s Word is for our own good. He really does have reasons for the rules. And those rules are not a drag. They’re a privilege.
“Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith” (1 John 5:3–4, NLT).