There is a story of a young married couple who were fortunate to have a patron who provided them with a new home and beautiful garden. They spent hours in the garden talking with each other and occasionally their patron would visit and they would walk and talk together. Their patron gave them complete freedom to enjoy their new home. He explained they could enjoy the fruit from any bush or tree in the garden but gave one stipulation: there was one tree whose fruit they should not eat because it would be bad for them.
All was set for an idilic life together until one day they saw the fruit in the tree they had been asked not to eat from. They were drawn to eat it and that was the end of paradise. The man and the women became ashamed and next time their patron called he could not find the young couple anywhere because they were hiding from him in shame.
This is of course the story of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis. When I think about what we can learn about relationships from their life it’s the principle of total freedom – either we can live life in fear of making a wrong decision or we can live life in the freedom of loving God.
Adam and Eve were given total freedom to enjoy God’s creation. They were only told not do one thing. This restriction was not to stop their fun but to protect them from harm. However they could not help themselves.
The will of God is like an adventure park with so much freedom to run, play and explore. There are a few barriers and fences which are there to keep us from harm but there is a lot more we are encouraged to do than not do. This is a parallel picture to the freedom and constraints that God offered Adam and Eve.
There is another view of the will of God which is very limiting. The picture that best illustrates this is a tightrope. Whether you are taking a big step or a little step you had better be careful that you do not fall off the rope to disaster. Within this view there are more constraints than there is freedom. This is not a Biblical view of the will of God but you would be surprised about how prevalent it is.
Viewing the will of God like a tightrope can lead people to decision paralysis. They become concerned and even fearful about making a wrong decision. So instead they choose to make no decisions at all in order to avoid making any mistakes and end up in the place of decision paralysis. I have met people who are desperate to be married, leave their job, start their own business or launch a charity however they have not heard God tell them exactly what to do so they have done nothing.
There are of course occasions in our life when God does want to guide us in a specific direction and its critical to listen to his leadership. We are however not children so God does not make every decision for us. If God is not expressing a preference to you about what he wants you to do then you have the total freedom to choose.
If I can sum it up in one phrase ‘love God and do what you like’ because if you love God you will only want what he wants, so get on with it.
As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Do not allow the bondage of religion to paralyse you, remember Christ has given you total freedom!