Stay on the Right Path.
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This black and white picture is so serene, with a clear path laid out before us and no dangers in sight. We know if we stay on that path it will guide us safely … but where? There are no signs telling us where this path goes. There are no footsteps ahead to demonstrate where others have gone down this path. Those fences on the side don’t really do anything. They won’t keep predators out and they won’t necessarily keep me in. Now that I look a little closer the clearest tracks I see go right through that fence.
This can be what it feels like to grow up in the church. We are told we will be safe if we stay on the clear path and inside the fences. We are taught that everything is black and white and simple. What happens when we reach a point where we are unsure of the path? How do we know that staying on it is the best choice? Isn’t it possible that going off the path could lead us to more exciting things?
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 8:36 New American Standard Bible
God gives us choices. He deliberately does not set up electric fences with concertina wire around us. He does provide a clear safe path in front of us, but He has also given us the choice to stay on that path or to wander. That kind of freedom can be difficult to navigate. I have to admit that, when presented with a clear, pretty path or the option to go off trail and explore, I am frequently tempted more by the latter.
Those fences, however, have a bigger purpose than decoration. They are a reminder that going off trail can be harmful to us, to the environment and to others. The same thing is true of God’s law. We have the freedom to choose not to follow the law. Christ paid for our sin and the law no longer has power over us. Yes you have a choice, but please remember that staying inside the fence protects both you and those around you. Why not stay on the path provided and find out where it leads?
Picture copyright Doug Brauner
Text copyright Richelle Hecker