By Jamie Snyder
As I drive the highways of this nation, I always find two things along the way: guardrails and roadkill. I live in Kentucky, where some of my fellow residents view roadkill not as a nuisance but as a free meal. Seriously. Last fall as I was driving down an interstate, I saw an elderly man and woman standing behind their Cadillac. I began to slow down, thinking they were having car problems, but as I came closer, I realized they had just stopped to pick up dinner. They were tying a very large deer to the top of their trunk. That was my welcome-to- Kentucky moment. Poor Bambi.
Along almost every highway I have driven in America, I see free meals and guardrails. Sometimes the rails are shiny and new; other times they’re rusty and fading. If you didn’t know any better, guardrails would seem so restrictive. Their presence forces you to keep driving in a certain direction on a certain path; they contain you to a certain space. But in actuality, guardrails are present so you may live and live well. With guardrails in place, the risk of crossing into head-on traffic is significantly reduced—you would bump up against the guardrail before you could move into the path of danger. Bumping into the guardrail might leave a few scratches and dings on your car or truck, but the guardrail would likely save your life.
The Ten Commandments and other commandments of God are guardrails on the highway of life. If you do not fully understand their intention, the rules and commands of God could seem restrictive. Yet in reality God has given us commands and standards so we may live life to the fullest. The journey of life is not about the boundaries that have been set in place. The boundaries exist so we can safely complete the journey of faith. Believing that God is primarily a Thou Shall Not God is like thinking He is all about the guardrails. The reality is the only reason the Thou Shall Nots exist is because our sin nature would lead us off the pavement if the rails were not there. God has placed parameters in our lives so we can live. Really live.
© 2014 Jamie Snyder. Thou Shall: Freedom to Strip Away the “NOTS” and Discover What God Really Wants is published by David C Cook. All rights reserved.
Jamie Snyder is lead pastor of Lakeside Christian Church, where he preaches and teaches to thousands on a weekly basis. Though he has many titles—husband, father, preacher, writer, bookworm, table tennis player extraordinaire—the most significant one, by far, is child of God. He resides with his wife and three children in Kentucky.