District Fellowship News

March, April 2007

HAVE you had the distinct pleasure of traveling through our nation’s airports lately? You start with the extra hour or two that you will need to make sure you are going to be able to actually get to your airplane. Don’t forget to pack anything that could possibly be or might look like it’s a gel, liquid, or semi solid substance into a quart Ziploc bag in individual containers of three ounces or less. When you start through the line you have to remove coats, suit coats, sports jackets, or any other clothing that may make you appear bigger then you really are. Take your cameras and laptops out of their cases. Remove your shoes. Now put all these items into separate grey bins and push them towards the big square box. Oh and don’t forget to remove the change from your pocket, your belt, your jewelry (including studs from belly buttons, eyebrows, noses, tongues, etc.) and anything else that may cause you embarrassment later on by making the metal detector go beep. Of course, in a perfect world, there would be little plastic booties to protect your socks as you walked through the line and for all those who navigate the security check without setting off any bells or whistles, there would be free bottles of water or other beverages right after the checkpoint. Ah, but the world isn’t perfect.

We can complain about how things are different than they used to be or we can exalt the good old days, but the truth is what we are going through is still better than travel in most other parts of the world. We have come to expect things to be a certain way and we somehow believe that our comfort comes before anything else. But freedom always comes at a cost. There are things that are so dangerous we need to be protected from them. Now we may not think they are dangerous, and we may even argue that we should be allowed to do whatever we want, but common sense says that just because we are stubborn or stupid or both, we need to be protected in spite of ourselves.

In God’s kingdom it is the same way. I hear people arguing all the time about their freedom to do whatever they want. Scriptures are constantly being bandied about. “I have the right to do anything, you say—but not everything is beneficial.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith...not by works”. “Faith without works is dead”….and on and on and on. We end up removing Scripture from it’s context to use it to justify our freedom or lack of choice.

But God laid out guidelines for us, so that we as his children could live lives protected from the danger of sin. The laws of Moses protected God’s people physically, relationally, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually. When Paul tells us what to set our minds on, on what to think about, it’s not mind control, it’s life protection. Throughout Scripture God’s guidelines for our lives aren’t about infringing on our rights, they are about protection. 

I will admit the thought of someone with a match trying to light his shoelace on fire strikes more mirth than fear in my mind, but if that individual is deterred from attacking an airplane or passengers because they have had their shoes scanned, I am glad for the protection. I may want my own way. I may not want my shoes checked. I may want to be able to go through the line quicker than anyone else. I...

That is exactly how we feel about God’s protection. The I’s outweigh everything else in our mind. It is time the I’s disappear and we realize that God is protecting us for our benefits. We give up sin and sinful behavior for our future and present benefit, our protection. Stop looking at the guidelines we are given as an infringement on your rights and start looking at them as protection. When you are standing in line at the airport, the train station, or the border, thank God for His love and care. And as you are following the instructions of others, remember that God’s guidelines are there so you will be PROTECTED!