Have you ever hiked in the mountains? Two years ago I had a son get married in the mountains of Tennessee. Since I’ve lived most of my life in rather flat places and now live in Florida, where it’s very flat, I’ve always had a fascination with mountains.
During our trip to Tennessee, we took some time to visit one of my son’s favorite viewing spots. We drove up and up a winding road and finally came out on the top of a mountain with a breathtaking view.
As we walked along the boardwalk to the viewing platform, I could see spindly little trees determined to grow out of the crevices in the rocks. I could see the many variations of green as I gazed across the mountain range, and since it was the beginning of fall, there were splashes of oranges and yellows.
I walked to the edge of the platform and leaned against the fence to look way down into the valley below. Suddenly I realized that I wouldn’t be able to stand where I was without the fence! I’d never have the courage to stand so near the edge without some sort of barrier.
The Lord showed me a beautiful truth at that moment. God wants us to experience great pleasure and joy in this life. He has so much to share with us while we are on earth, but He’s put safeguards in place to keep us from falling; barriers to keep us safe. We are not to flirt with sin, so He desires to keep us away from the edge. While there are times we must be near the edge, perhaps in ministry to others, we must always take care to stay behind the fence.
We can also use this picture to understand how accountability works. Are there areas in your life where temptation is great and you find yourself dangerously close to the edge? That’s the time to reach out to a brother or sister in Christ and ask them to help you build a fence.
God doesn’t use fences to hold you captive; He does it to keep you from falling. It’s for your good that there are barriers in your life.
“Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25(HCSB)