Fires are lovely, aren't they? Well, let me clarify that...fires are lovely in a fireplace. Should those beautiful flames begin to jump out into my family room, or my kitchen, or should they race up my staircase, then, of course, they would be terrifying, not lovely.
Interesting how we see the necessity for boundaries with things like fire, yet when we read the boundaries that God has wisely set up for us in His Word, we question it. Maybe we see those boundaries as suggestions. Maybe we reject the boundaries all together. In this, though, we are using our own [limited] wisdom, aren't we? Like a child who insists on playing with her doll in the middle of the street, we insist on toying with boundaries that God has placed for our own good and protection.
Recently, I was talking with a friend about raising teenage sons. It can be difficult to know how many or what kind of boundaries to set up for our children. Those boundaries can vary from child to child and from season to season. However, a comment she made really struck me. It was something like this:
The need for boundaries does not go away. Just because I turn a certain age doesn't mean I no longer need them. There are things that tempt me in life that I must erect hedges around my mind and heart so that I keep from entering into sin.
So true! We must be diligent to raise our children so that their hearts might be those after God's own. Boundaries are needed, but in our zeal for creating these boundaries we must remember that they are not the cause for heart change. Only Jesus is. And, a changed heart is ultimately our desire, not just kids that look good (or are good-looking).
We don't want to be fearful--we have a trustworthy God who is good. There's no need to be anxious! However, we also must not err on the opposite extreme and assume that our kids are good and do not possess hearts that are depraved apart from Christ. Is my heart good? Do I never sin? Is my mind full of praiseworthy thoughts all the time and I never entertain a sinful idea? Of course not! We know this about ourselves, yet it can be almost brutal to imagine it about our children. Let's be mindful of this and point the way to Jesus as He does the heart surgery in our children. Ultimately, I desire that they have hearts that want to take sinful thoughts captive; that want to fight against temptation; and that have victory over the sin that crouches at the door waiting to master them. I need to do less fretting and hedge-building and clear the way for the Lord to do His supernatural work in them. Pray with me as I decrease and He increases.