Freedom within Limits

"Freedom within Limits" is a real thing.

Years ago, I worked with a daycare that had a field for their playground; the kids stayed in the middle of the field, or near the building. When we fenced in the field, their behavior changed: now they used the whole field.

The Bible treats us this way. In Galatians 5:13, Paul says "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love." That's freedom within limits: "Yes you're free, but you're also free from sin! In your freedom, don't choose sin."

The Pharisees of Jesus time set a model that is occasionally followed today: "Yes you're free, but you're also free from choosing! In your freedom, don't choose anything." As leaders, they choose to keep us safe from ever making a mistake, ever becoming exposed to anything unhealthy, or anything that could eventually become unhealthy.

And so they set up fences to protect us. Like this poor guy has.

The foundation on which he stands reads "Freedom" but he's fenced in so tight he's functionally immobilized.

The fence around the daycare's playground enclosed about half an acre: there was room where the kids could run all day, wear themselves out. It also enclosed the coolest playground in town: bridges, climbing things, tunnels, a fireman's pole, all custom-designed and hand-made with love. There was so much fun inside the fence that we never had trouble with the kids even wanting to leave. In fact, it was difficult - on sunny days - to bring them back inside after play time was over.

There must be fences around our lives. But the fences must be so big that we can run at full speed as long as we can and still not run into fences. There must be enough play stuff inside the fence - stuff like opportunities to heal the sick, disciple young believers, field trips to glorious meetings, treasure hunts on the streets - there must be enough of a playground that we don't ever want to get out of the fence.

That's the way life in the Kingdom should be!

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