Now we are at the point where Gabriel is able to take off riding and feeling very confident. All geared up, and very good at balancing unassisted. So confident that he desires to have a “Real Bike Now”. You know….the ones with actual peddles, lol. With this new found FREEDOM to RIDE, Gabriel is venturing out into the world and taking risks.
Gabe is 5 years old, and there are times when he feels quite confident to handle life’s challenges on his own. He often tries to test the BOUNDARIES. He likes to take his bike out and ride it up and down the street, while we sit and watch on the porch. There are times when we turn around and notice that he is almost to the corner, which he knows is past the boundary mark we have set. Those boundaries are the neighbors driveways, both to the right and left of our home. When he has taken off down the road pass those boundaries, we have to yell for him to return and remind him that he has gone too far. He thinks this is a great time for him to plead his case and say, “But I made it and nothing happened“. We gently try to remind him that while that may be true….THIS TIME…..”when you are that far way from us, if someone wanted to grab you and put you in a car and take you away from us, we could not reach you in time to help. You would be TOO FAR AWAY!”
He hears this and thinks in his 5 yr. old childish mind, “No one would grab me“, “It’s never happened before“, or “Why would anyone do that?“. For him, our caution doesn’t make any sense, or he just can’t see it happening right now in his life. But as adults, we see them very clearly. So, the explanation to him seems illogical and impossible. He has confidence that he would be able to “Get away” or “Avoid” those pitfalls. But, a 5 yr old can’t possibly understand just how unsure of himself he should be. Therefore, as the adults (parents), we must set those boundaries for him and we must have tangible consequences for him, so that he can understand that this is SERIOUS, and it is LIFE or DEATH!
As Christians, the journey for us is not much different than Gabe. I say that because when we first come to Christ, and surrender our lives, essentially saying, “Ok God, help me ride this bike. I admit I don’t know how to do this, but I need help. Yes, I will put on your gear to and I will follow behind you“, (which we will talk about in our next devotional). But, as we start off on that path, we can get a bit comfortable with the idea that we are doing this. Especially when we haven’t fallen in a while, and all we see is the world behind us, as we fly by on cloud nine! But, this is the stage that we must remain “HUMBLE“. Yes, we must lower the confidence we place in ourselves and put more dependance and trust in our Father who essentially says to us:
Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself MORE HIGHLY than he ought to think; but to think SOBERLY, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Gabriel’s pride has many times put him in situations that render consequences to teach him a lesson. CONSEQUENCES help him to understand that his choices have results for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE. This is important for him to learn while still a babe. So that he will grow up or MATURE, understanding the realities of his limitations and also the True Power of GOD. So, when ever he gets too excited and “Forgets” the boundaries, we have to remind him by taking him to the edge of the neighbors yards so he can see the lines that are not to be crossed, and while there we remind him of the consequences of choosing to ignore those lines, if he chooses to do it anyway.
It is the same for us as God’s child. We come to him as “Little Children”, having no clue what we are doing. Yet we feel as though we are capable, and able, after a while, to stand on our own two feet. But we can get to confident in our own abilities to walk this walk, and thus the lines or boundaries God has placed before us become easier to ignore. Sometimes we simply don’t SEE them anymore because we don’t look where we are going. No longer even looking for the lines in the sand. When we finally are at a place of “Oh no, I’ve gone TOO Far”, we call out to God for His help. Now, like any father would, He does come to rescue us. We don’t always like THE WAY He does it, but He does, and we also have to deal with the consequences of our decisions. Romans 6:23, “For the Wages (payment) of sin is death…..“.
That death result may be the death of certain relationships, the death of a job or really important position we wanted so badly. Death of health and strength, mental or emotional capabilities. We can loose our families and friends, our influence, and even truly our lives. There is an endless list of things that we can lose, because we venture beyond the boundaries set by God. The privilege we enjoy and yet we don’t realize that they are a blessing of remaining in the protective care of our father. For Gabe, losing the bike is a real tangible one. If he can’t respect the boundaries and stay within them, he can’t ride the bike. It’s just that simple. Does he have the ability to get that privilege back? Yes, but he must be willing to accept those boundaries and respect them. If not, the bike could be lost indefinitely. Not to punish him….but to protect him from himself.
Have you “Cross the Lines” at some point? Have you gone too far away from the BOUNDARY marks and it feels like God is just too far away to be able to reach you and pull you up out of the muck you are in? Has the enemy taken you off the path and now you are trying to find your way back? Or perhaps you can honestly say today, I knew the boundaries, I saw them clearly, but I just didn’t want to remain in the safety zone. As result, I am out of the ark of safety, and suffering. Praise be to GOD, you are dealing with not a earthly father, but your HEAVENLY FATHER, whose desire is to DELIVER you and bring you back to Himself if you want to be FREE:
Jeremiah 3:14, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I WILL BRING YOU to Zion.”
It has always been God’s goal for us to be able to STAND and WALK. But, that process always remains DEPENDANT on remaining in CHRIST. As hard as it is to accept, it is yet the most beautiful truth to accept…..and that is that we are forever tied to Christ and DEPENDANT on Him. It is His mission to SAVE us from this world…..but we must stay alert and watchful for the boundaries, being ever careful to remain under his watchful loving care. Even though sometimes the path ahead seems so free from danger, and we feel so confident that we can make it to the corner and back without any danger befalling us….we must remember, there is an enemy out there lurking along the roads, up and down the highways of life and waiting for the moment that we are Too Comfortable and Self Confident.