Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reflection for February 24, 2010

"The Folly of Pigheadedness"

My father-in-law once had a hog that was known to travel down the road on occasion to the nearest neighbor and wreak havoc on the neighbor’s yard. If you have ever seen what a hog can do to a yard, you can understand why the neighbor had threatened to kill the hog, if he got into his yard again. My father-in-law attempted to keep the hog within the confines of an electric fence for his own safety, but the hog did not understand the safety issue. All he understood was the fence represented a boundary he did not want to honor. When the boundaries became more than he could tolerate, he would stand back from the fence, start pawing the ground, lower his head, start squealing, and finally start running as fast as he could toward the fence. He started squealing early, because he knew the fence would be painful, but he was willing to endure the pain to reach the space beyond it. This old hog reminds me of some Christians I know. In fact, it reminds me of myself in my younger days.

Our Heavenly Father has given us His word to establish boundaries for us to remain within. He has done it for our own protection. He is well aware of the dangers that can be found outside the safety of His word. He has warned His children throughout His word that He would not turn his head away when they choose to disregard His word. In the Old Testament, God repeatedly reminded His children of the consequences of not remaining within the confines of His law. His children refused to heed his warnings and time and time again they were left at the mercy of their enemies. Only when they repented and once again sought safety behind the boundaries God had created did they find deliverance.

Likewise, God warns his children in the New Testament of the dangers found outside of the boundaries He has established. He directed Paul to write, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7, 8).

Looking to excuse their behavior, some would argue that this Scripture is nullified by our confession and repentance of whatever sin we have committed. While it is true that no sin is so great that God will not forgive a truly repentant sinner. Forgiveness does not negate the reaping of the consequences of living outside God’s boundaries. For example, if someone chooses to live their life abusing their bodies with drugs and alcohol, they can come to their senses and receive the forgiveness of a loving and caring God. His forgiveness does not remove the fact that the individual will have to live with the consequences their wrong choices had on their bodies.

The truth is when we choose to live outside the boundaries of God’s word we are left without excuse. If we behave like my father-in-law’s old hog, we may well pay a high price for forging ahead and ignoring God’s clear boundaries. Whatever momentary pleasure we may receive outside of God’s boundaries is not worth the cost. When we remain within God’s boundaries and ignore the temptations the enemy places before us, we will discover the greatest pleasure in life comes from remaining within the confines God has established for us. It is there we find the joy, peace and abundant life Jesus promised those who remain faithful.

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