My eldest daughter was a fiery one. Tall and precocious, she excelled at escapism. She could dismantle locks, scale baby gates, and diseengage her child safety seat belts. There were many a time my little dare devil would climb over or take apart baby gates. One minute she’d be standing there sucking milk; the next we’d be scrambling to “save her” as she slid down the stairs cackling. Like I said, fiery. She had few zero boundaries that she was unwilling to cross. So even now, I am her border, her constant warning system that she is coming closer to a “you’ve gone too far; your big toe is too close to the line.”
I myself am completely without brakes. Those that know me KNOW that I can easily go off the rails and wake up the next day trying to figure out “what had happened? why it happen?”. So God has always placed people around me to hold me inside my own skin. Talk sense. Tell me about myself. You know, be my boundaries until I could fully submit myself to the Spirit of God. But at some point, I had to FULLY take responsibility for myself and monitor myself.
The letter of the law and the rituals we teach are designed like that–to be your boundaries. Long skirts, staying out the club, don’t drink, don’t smoke, go to church, do this, don’t so that… all of those things are outside boundaries. Like a baby gate for the Lord. Many of us in the newness of a life in following God’s word chafe at what looks like, feels like, and really is a newly planted life of restriction. We struggle against it–kick against the prick–often falling back into the lives we claimed to want to leave behind because it is “too hard” to live with all the rules.
Take heart, my friends.
Following these “rules” is not the goal; but they are put in place to keep you from falling until you’ve learned to walk in the Spirit. Like my baby’s gates, the rules are designed as a safeguard as you transition from an old way of living and thinking to a new way. Like every change, it hurts a bit until you adjust your lens from flesh to spirit. And your body and mind are gonna put up a mighty battle until you even out and learn to consistently hear directly from God.
My daughter didn’t understand yet what was dangerous for her and what was not, and so we put up the gates until she could. The same applies to your walk as a person of faith. While you are learning what will be an issue for you–mine is the music I listen to–you need definitive lines in the sand. Once you are fully in tune with the Holy Spirit, I promise you will know what your areas of struggle are and can move freely.
Don’t be mad or frustrated by the baby gate; make it your business to grow up in the Spirit. You know you’ve grown in God when you can heed a word and follow it when the Spirit tells you to do or not do.