God desires that we stay within the boundaries he has set for us. He first voiced a boundary in Genesis chapter 2 when he told Adam that he had free reign over the entire garden with the exception of this one particular tree in the middle of the garden. We've struggled with boundaries ever since. And today things like global warming, teen pregnancy, and alcoholism are nearly a part of our every day conversations.
I'll be 30 years old this September. I'm not sure 30 is all to significant of an age, but with that number approaching I've been assessing stuff. Spiritual stuff. I've been thinking about the brand of spirituality I began my life with and how heavy laden it was with rules, boundaries, and high emphasis on morality. Then, a subtle quarter life crisis took over and the pendulum swung from an emphasis on pristine morality to all the freedoms a follower of Christ can enjoy. All this to say, as 30 approaches, I'm seeking a healthier medium, understanding the beauty and confidence that comes with a healthy understanding of our freedoms as well as renewing my understanding of God given boundaries and limitations.
This last Sunday I shared this aspect of my story and inter-weaved it with the story of Genesis chapter 3. I chose Genesis chapter 3 because of the image of God that the reader can see. He lays down that first boundary and says if anyone chooses to cross it, death will result. Adam and Eve choose to cross the line and interestingly, physical death is not the immediate result. The immediate result is humanity's shame, embarrassment, and self-rejection. And God's immediate response to their self-rejection and the embarrassment of being naked is he makes garments of clothing for them. Not only do they not die right away but God clothes them to cover their shame. And that would be the first of many times throughout scripture in which God would cover us and come to the rescue amidst his bride's shame and embarrassment.
As many times as we see God's mercy and compassion, we also hear of his desire for purity and righteousness. We learn over time that freedom and boundaries are the two sides of one coin that is God's love. When freedom is enjoyed within the tension of a balanced understanding of boundaries and limitations we'll find the harmony and serenity that one would expect in a garden.
I suppose with age comes a better understanding of limitations. I found that out yesterday morning as Angie and I ran the Bolder Boulder 10k race. I didn't train near as much as I did last year and I believed I could get away with it and still attempt to beat last year's time. I figured out that it wasn't that easy. I was passed by kids less than half my age.
I'm learning that running this race takes lots of discipline. It requires that I embrace tension and often times I need accountability and determination to persistently live within this tension. And it takes an understanding that the tension that exists between freedom and boundaries is a purposefull aspect of our triune God's love for us.