Imagine a man slowly sailing through the clouds in a bright, striped hot air balloon. The air is cool, save for the spurt of fire keeping the balloon bellowed and full. As the current toys with his hair, he studies the tiny images below…rectangles of green and brown grass, houses and snaking highways. Everything seems so small, and from his vantage point, he feels so very big.
His hand cups the canvas edges of the basket wall and he frowns. Everything is perfect except for the stupid walls keeping him in. He wants to feel like a bird, to fly, to soar and be free. How can he do that with the ridiculous barricades in place?
What kind of morons would create this beautiful balloon and trap its passengers in a cage underneath? The walls were ruining his fun. Heat burned his chest at the thought. No one could tell him what to do. He was his own man.
He pulled himself over the edge and jumped, no longer bound by restrictions.
Tell me, do you think the man made a wise decision?
Welcome back to our series Liar, a look at the enemy’s most frequent lies, how to identify them and replace them with truth. We’re up to lie number seven: God’s rules are too restrictive.
Some people have the mistaken idea that when you give your life to Christ, God plops a big manual in your lap filled with a list of “don’ts” and “thou shall nots”, all with the expressed purpose of making sure your life from then on is miserable.
This is a lie.
Unfortunately, this is a lie even some Christians believe because they have failed to understand the true meaning of grace, or are caught up in the controlling cycle of legalism.
God does give us some boundaries to follow. A fence line, if you will, with clear warnings of what will happen if we go beyond the property lines. He doesn’t do this to ruin our party, or make us miserable. Please hear me. God gives us boundaries to ensure we have the best and happiest life possible.
It’s no different than pulling a toddler’s hand away from a hot stove, or yanking a child away from an oncoming car. You tell them ‘no’ because you don’t want to see them hurt. When a child chooses to ignore a warning, what they perceive as making them ‘happy’ for the moment could actually lead to their destruction.
But, boy, the enemy is so sneaky at making us think what’s beyond that fence is the very thing we can’t live without.
It’s not a new tactic. He’s been trying it from the very beginning. Go to the Bible and look all the way back in Genesis 3.
I still scratch my head, wondering how good that fruit must have looked. After all, Eve was literally living in paradise. Perfect weather, perfect beauty, perfect body, no cellulite, perfect food, perfect husband and a beautiful bond with the God who’d created her. What more did she need?
God told Adam and Eve, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 3: 16,17)
God basically said, “Look around you! You can do whatever you want, except eat from this tree. That’s all.” It was a pretty sweet deal. But instead of thinking of all the things she could have, Eve became fixated on the one thing she couldn’t have. She ate and plunged the entire human race into a spiral of death, disease and decay.
Just like Eve, when we throw aside God’s instructions, we discover instead finding freedom, we actually end up in bondage. Satan promises life but gives death. Always.
This lie, that God’s rules are too restrictive, is closely related to another lie: God really isn’t good.
The enemy knows that once we doubt the goodness of God, we will feel justified in rejecting His will and making our own decisions about right and wrong. And once we’ve shoved Truth out of the picture, our life becomes a hasty spiral into a toxic mess.
“So the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear [and worship] the Lord our God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] for our good always and so that He might preserve us alive, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 6:24
God only has your best in mind. No matter what you’ve been told, or what earthly examples you’ve been shown, He’s a good Father. There’s no need to learn the hard way.
Know your enemy. There’s nothing better waiting beyond the fence. I promise. Life, beauty and joy waits inside with Jesus.