So, five days ago I finally broke down and bought a puppy. His name is Bruno and he is the most adorable creature I have seen in a while. He is a super soft, cuddly, Teddy Bear (no really, he’s a Teddy Bare breed – Shih-Tzu/ Brichon). After the first night I had real questions, like “what in the world was I thinking?” LOL! He woke up at 2 am and 5 am and I was really re-evaluating my ability to make life choices that morning. But to be honest, he is a really good puppy outside of attacking human toes. He is very smart and is already potty training very well with only two accidents in five days. And, once again in the short span of time that I’ve been blessed to spend with little Bruno, God has shown me something about his love for me.
I’ve never had a puppy before, so I’m not going to say that we are doing everything the right way, but we have decided not to crate train him since I will be working from home for the remainder of the year due to the outbreak of Covid-19. We did buy him a doggy playpen though, which is where he sleeps and naps or sits for a small amount of time while we are unable to keep an eye on him. Although we close all of the bedroom and bathroom doors, he is basically able to freely roam all other parts of the house. We close all of the doors to ensure his safety because we don’t want him to get into anything that may be dangerous for him and also for the protection of everyone’s shoes, LOL.
With all the free reign of the house, it’s funny to watch him still try to run in a room whenever a door that we forgot about is left slightly opened. He never seems to miss an opportunity to enter into a forbidden area. But it’s kind of hard to explain to a puppy the purpose of, and the benefits of, staying within a set of boundaries (protection and love) so they do not understand. On the other hand, as for mankind, while we have an understanding of the purpose of boundaries, we have a hard time accepting them because we want to fully exercise our free will without boundaries or consequences.
What’s interesting for me to watch, having never had a puppy before, is how he is becoming more and more obedient each day. As we stick to the boundaries that we’ve set from day one, he is constantly learning where he can and can’t go and what “no” means and has begun to obey simple commands. I know that he will never understand the “why?” but he will show loyalty and obedience because of the love, care and protection that we provide for him.
I would have to assume that many of us are at least somewhat familiar with Adam and Eve, the first man and woman whom God created. It’s in the book of Genesis that we first see God set boundaries for mankind. God gave Adam and Eve a beautiful garden named Eden and they were given dominion over it and all of the animals with only one restriction – one tree from which they were unable to eat. God not only delivered the command but he also provided a warning of the consequence – eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would result in death:
- Physical Death – when the body dies
- Spiritual Death – a separation of the spirit from the body
- Eternal Death – permanent separation of humanity from from God
I don’t know if you think the same way that I do, but I often wonder why Adam and Eve chose disobedience over all the beautiful things that God had given them dominion over. Maybe it’s because God didn’t spell out what the “you will surely die” exactly meant. But today, if you tell me something is going to cause my death, I really don’t need a lot of explanation, LOL. Perhaps Adam and Eve thought that there was something better on the other side of “you will surely die,” I don’t really know, but they surely didn’t see the boundary that God had set for them as being in their best interest.
Like some of us, Adam and Eve were tempted to test the boundaries. Satan convinced Eve that God did not have their best interest in mind and was successful in casting doubt on God’s Word and his character. We often test boundaries because we want to see how much we can get away with or how far we can “push the envelop” before we go too far. What makes this a dangerous game is that the more we test boundaries and the further we stray outside of them, the more comfortable we become in our sin and lose sight of the consequences that will follow as a result of our disobedience.
Staying within boundaries can be difficult at times. It can begin to feel like God is punishing us with all of the limitations. Sometimes doing the right thing seems like the wrong thing because it can make us feel isolated when we go against the crowd. Also, many times we don’t always see the benefits of living within boundaries until it’s too late – like after the consequences hit us like a ton of bricks. I get it – it’s hard sometimes, especially when you watch others live their lives in disobedience and it looks like they are receiving way more blessings than you while you try to stay on the straight and narrow path. Yet, we must always remember that obedience comes with blessings and that disobedience will always cost you something either in this life or after death.
And while respecting the boundaries in our lives doesn’t come without struggle, there is a purpose for them – spiritual maturity. He gives us free will to choose, and though many times we disappoint him with how or what we choose, he continues to correct us out of love and because he truly wants us to enjoy the benefits of obedience – eternal life with him and he wants to use us to bring glory to his Kingdom.
As Christians, we sometimes find it difficult in accepting boundaries because we’ve experienced the results of boundaries being abused by others in our lives for selfish purposes and will sometimes use this as the reason why we will not allow God to guide us in our lives. However, this difficulty that we face can be alleviated when we focus on the purpose and the benefits of boundaries. We must be confident in knowing that we are protected by them and that they guide us to the best that he has in store for us. For instance, the fence that God sets up around us at times is to keep us away from something harmful. God protects us from seen and unseen dangers, from heartache and pain, from illness, evil and so much more. Why? Because he loves us. His boundaries have everything to do with love.
I encourage you to accept the boundaries that God has placed in your life and to trust wholeheartedly that he has done so out of his unconditional love for you. Practice obedience by allowing him to order your steps within his set parameters in your life. Understand that God loves you enough to protect you from harm and danger, to keep you from falling and cares deeply about where you will spend eternity. Whatever boundaries you are struggling with, let them go and be blessed through your obedience to the sovereign God.
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. Deuteronomy 28:1