I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
- John 10:9
True freedom is the freedom to roam wherever you want within the boundaries God has laid out for you. Isn’t this counter-intuitive?
We look at the boundaries God lays out for us and think: “Wouldn’t I be more free if I could jump over that wall? Wouldn’t I be more free if I could wander into that other field? Wouldn’t I be more free if I could do whatever I wanted?” Imagine a sheep chewing and tugging at the fence, seeking freedom. Imagine a ram smashing his head against a wall over and over again, seeking freedom.
Life beyond the boundaries only carries the illusion of freedom. Life on the other side requires constant vigilance and precludes rest. All of the benefits, joys, and excitement that can be found beyond the boundaries can also be found in the life that Jesus offers us. But the sacrifices we make when we attempt to live life apart from our Good Shepherd are overwhelming. The only safe place is beneath the watchful eye of our Good Shepherd.
When Jesus gives us boundaries and restrictions, he’s giving a gift to us, not taking something from us. Were we to slip under the fence we would soon find ourselves inside of another, serving cruel shepherds who use and consume us.
Within the boundaries Jesus gives us, we experience tremendous freedom. We can be ourselves without guilt or shame. We can love, serve, and help others. We can know and enjoy God.
Think about this: you have the freedom, right now, to put down this devotional and pour your heart out to the creator of the universe … and he’ll listen to you like you’re the only person he ever created. Or you can choose to wash dishes or answer email or change a diaper or put gas in your truck and he will still love you as fully and completely as if you’d just spent a day in prayer. Everything is available to you in Christ and in him you have nothing to earn.
Given this freedom, we invite you to spend just a few moments pouring your heart out to the Lord…and then go about your day under the watchful care of your good Shepherd.
Take a few minutes today to thank God for the freedom he gives you and to ask him to help you to live freely within the boundaries he’s given you.