Free to Live in Boundaries

This morning I woke up early with this blog on my mind so I opened my Bible to Romans 8 and then I just sat with it.  I asked God to flood my mind with the things I should write and this is what happened.  My mind went back to a phone call I had last night with my spiritual mentor.  We were talking about my mom’s cancer and questions I should ask her doctor.  She said something to me that I will never forget.  She actually said 45 minutes worth of things to me, but this statement is cemented into my brain.  “Sometimes it feels as if our life is surrounded by an electric fence and we don’t know where it is until we bump up against it.”

We laughed about that for a while, and then I sat with the truth of the statement.  I was reminded of a dog my husband and I used to have named Kizzie.  We trained Kizzie to not come into the dining room while we were eating.  She used to lay right at the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room.  As we sat in the dining room eating, Kizzie would stare up at us and slowly inch her paw forward, inch by inch until she pushed her paw across the line that separated the dining room from the kitchen.  Every time she would cross the line, we would say to her in a stern voice, “KIZZIE” and she would jerk her paw back.  It was a funny sight to see, but isn’t this just like us as humans?  God has drawn a line and He says – “this is the behavior I want from you as a follower of Jesus” and we want to live as close to the line as we can, sometimes slipping over.  We push up against the line and we get zapped by the electric fence.

I think of that “line” and I think of choice.  God has given us the choice – we choose to live in and under the law of the Spirit of Life or the law of the spirit of death that Romans 8 talks about.  Sometimes we throw out excuses for our behavior that try to remove our choice like, “I can’t help myself.”  “It’s so hard.”  “It’s a habit I can’t break” but at the end of the day, it all comes down to choice.  Romans 8:1 is a verse we must commit to memory because the devil will throw untruths, excuses at us all day long!  This verse combats it by reminding us that there is no condemnation for us when we belong to Jesus. We choose to live inside the guidelines God has for us or we choose to step outside of them.  Choice is woven throughout the Bible.  “Choose you this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  “To obey (obedience is our choice) is better than sacrifice.”  Exhortations like, “Put on the armor of God”, “Clothe yourself in righteousness”, “Take off anger, rage, malice…”  all involve choice.

“There is now no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus” involves a choice.  Have we chosen to belong to Jesus?  It’s a choice we need to make and we need to renew every day.  Today I choose Jesus.  I will not live under the lie of condemnation because I have chosen Jesus.

I glance back at my open Bible and this is what stands out – phrases that are bolded above the paragraphs, from chapter 6 - “Sin’s Power is Broken” and “Freedom to Obey God”. From chapter 7 - “No longer Bound to the Law”, “God’s Law Reveals Our Sin” and “Struggling with Sin” and from chapter 8 - “Life in the Spirit”.  That about sums it up!  When we choose Jesus, sin’s power is broken, we are free to CHOOSE to obey God, we are not bound to the letter of the law because we are NOT condemned, God shows us our sin and the areas of our life where we struggle with sin SO THAT we can live life in the Spirit.

My dog Kizzie chose to live as close to the line as she could when we were eating and sometimes would cross over resulting in her getting zapped.  I say, let’s choose to live as far away from the line as we can.  No condemnation doesn’t mean we are free to sin as much as we want, it means we are free to obey, free from the power of sin, free from the hold of sin, free to walk in the spirit, free to live a life that brings glory to God.  That line doesn’t have control over us, God does, His Spirit does.  It also doesn’t mean that we are perfect, but when we do slip up, we need to remind ourselves that we are not condemned, but we have forgiveness and restoration through Jesus. We are not “destined” to live under the law of sin, but God’s plan for us is to walk and live in His Spirit – the Spirit of Life.  Remind yourself today that you are free in Jesus to say no to the power of sin that leads to death and free to say yes to the power of the life-giving Spirit of Life.  If the Son has set you free (If you have chosen Jesus, then HE HAS SET YOU FREE), you are free indeed!

Robin Smith is one of our Refres{her} bloggers. She lives in Las Vegas, NV where she spends her days working in Higher Education and splits her time in the evenings volunteering within the community and church.  Robin's background is in full-time ministry and Higher Education.  She devotes her time to college students and ministries that impact the lives of people. In the world of Higher Education, Robin focuses on developing student leaders, helping new students acquire the skills they need to be successful in college and teaching public speaking.  In the ministry world, Robin focuses on ministries that serve women, specifically women who are coming out of the sex trafficking industry and young adults.  Robin and her husband Homer host a young adult Bible study in their home every other week and work with the Young Adult ministry Forge at their church. They have been married for 30 years and have two children who are both married and three grandchildren.