Thursday, August 17, 2017
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There's a high fence around my friend Mel's garden. And he's got the most incredible fruit and vegetable garden I've ever seen. When Mel or his wife are at the grocery store, they can pretty much sail right past the produce department-they own a produce department. Their garden produces bumper crops of fresh tomatoes, corn, berries-you name it. I have always enjoyed taking a walk with him through what really feels like "God's little acre." But you don't just stroll from the yard right into the soil of the garden. You see, you have to open a gate and then go in. Every inch of that garden is surrounded by this sturdy fence. Now why does Mel have that big old fence around his garden? I suppose someone might say, "Oh, he just doesn't want anyone in there enjoying it." No. He has a fence there, not to limit your enjoyment of the garden, but to protect your enjoyment of the garden. It's not about keeping people from the beauty. It's about protecting the beauty from the things that could destroy it.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Happy Fences".
Part of raising children is putting up some fences...fences they won't always like. But it's important for a child to hear from a parent, not just where the fences are, but why there is a fence. For the same reason my friend has a fence around his garden-not to keep you from something good, but to keep something good. We need to raise our sons and daughters, not just with rules to keep, but with treasures to keep.
That's exactly the approach God takes with His children when He's telling them to stay away from what's wrong. It's "thou shalt not" in the context of not spoiling something very valuable.
Our word for today from the Word of God begins in 2 Corinthians 6:14. In this situation, God is telling His children not to be involved in life partnerships with unbelievers...something that may have sounded like just another Christian rule, one more thing you can't do because you're a Christian.
But listen to God's logic-the reason behind the rule. He says, "For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.'" God says, Do you know who you are? You're the temple God lives in. You're the people of God. You belong to the King. You're treasure-you're too valuable to compromise or throw away. So, God concludes, "Therefore come out from them and be separate. Touch no unclean thing."
Then He says, "...You will be My sons and daughters." He's the King. You're His child. So you're a prince or a princess. So live like one! See, it's not just some "no-no's". It's not just fences. It's something too valuable to ruin.
We need to raise our children with that kind of positive morality, not just a list of things they can't do. They need a list of treasures that are too valuable to ruin. They're the reason for the rules. Like their virginity, for example...like that unique love gift that they have to give to their lifetime love. Yes, there's a fence around sex called marriage not to keep us from enjoying it, but to make sure we enjoy it as only those can who have kept it for what-and for who-it was made for.
We need to let our kids know their body is a treasure from God too, and it's too valuable to be devalued with garbage. Your mind is a treasure too important to be poisoned with polluted input. Your reputation is a treasure, too valuable to be compromised or lost. People's trust - that's a treasure - so we're against anything that would cost you people's trust.
Let's be sure we aren't just giving our children rules to keep. They need to have treasures to keep. Yes, there are fences-not to keep you out of life's beautiful gardens, but to keep those gardens beautiful!