Have you ever spent time thinking about guardrails? I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately! Perhaps this is a sign that I have been doing WAY too much driving over the last several days… but really, have you ever taken notice of them? There are times I am so glad they exist and other times I kinda scratch my head wondering why one was placed or if it was strong enough to do any good anyway…
But guardrails serve an important purpose. Sometimes they are a simple reminder to a driver that danger exists just off the road, like a stream or culvert. Other times they keep our cars away from extreme drop offs like on bridges and overpasses. Yet others act as a barrier to keep our cars out of off limits areas.
But, what if we got MAD at guardrails.
What if we decided their existence was too restrictive.
I mean… don’t we have the right to drive where we want? Aren’t we smart enough to make the right choice? What’s the deal with all these restrictions?
What if those pesky, restrictive guardrails were all that we focused upon when driving?
Kinda silly, don’t you think?
It’s a good parallel to what we can often find ourselves doing in our walk with God.
When we boil our relationship down to a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” (or all to commonly, just the don’ts) it is easy to get upset at all the things we AREN’T supposed to do. But our walk with God was never supposed to be a mere list of do’s and don’ts. Focusing upon those, and those alone, will lead to a very frustrated child of God.
Last week I was reflecting on how in Christ we are a new creation, how in Christ we are set free, free from the law of sin and death, free from the bondage of sin… FREE. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” So if we are free then, why are there so many guardrails in life? Out with the rules and restrictions, in with the freedom.
But that is a perspective that comes from only focusing upon the guardrails. Such an acute focus on the wrong thing can lead us to believe guardrails are keeping us from truly living free…
When Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” it doesn’t stop there but goes on to say, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” See the “yoke slavery” doesn’t refer to solely the rights and wrongs in life. The yoke of slavery meant that before Christ our relationship with God was dependent on our ability to follow His law, which we never could live up to. Because of Christ we are no longer subject to that relationship but instead have Christ as our mediator, bringing us faultless before God, making us God’s children! We burden ourselves with the “yoke of slavery” when we try to boil our righteousness down to our actions, our ability to do the right things and refrain from the wrong things… instead of relying on the grace of God in Christ’s redemption!
This doesn’t mean that because of freedom we can now, without consequence, do whatever we want.
I think 1 Corinthians 10:23 says it best, “All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].”
Even in our freedom we need guardrails to keep us safe. Guardrails to separate us from dangerous situations. Guardrails to prevent us from going places in which we never should find ourselves. Guardrails to catch us when we make reckless decisions.
Where in your life do you fight the guardrails God has set up for you? Are there specific areas that you need to set up guardrails to keep you on the right path?
God, so often it is easy to come to resent the guardrails you have placed in our lives to protect us, to guide us, to lead us to developing Christ-like character. Help us to trust you even when we feel restricted and want to fight for our freedom. Transform our thinking and understanding so that we can know true freedom in you!