As you know, fish were created to live in the water.
Water is the environment in which they thrive.
Consider goldfish. In a bowl, they are fed, their gills are perfectly fitted to absorb plenty of life sustaining oxygen, they are free from predators, and have an underwater world of seaweed and submerged objects to explore and enjoy.
But we can imagine a goldfish in a bowl catching a glimpse of the family dog on the floor.
Rolling around and chewing bones looks like a lot more fun than life in the fishbowl.
So, our fish friend decides to escape the restricted confines of the bowl for the freedom of the living room floor.
He jumps out of the bowl and lands next to Rover.
All goes well for the first few seconds. He rolls around with Rover and looks longingly at the chew bones. What a world of joy it is outside the fishbowl!
Until the inevitable happens.
The fish begins to gasp for breath. He was created to receive oxygen through water, not air.
Soon he realizes he's been deceived by the tempting world outside the bowl.
Oh, how he wants to return to the fishbowl, the environment provided for fish to thrive.
The same thing is true for humans.
There is an environment in which we have been designed to thrive. Not within the boundaries of a fishbowl but within the moral boundaries of God's wisdom expressed to us in the Bible.
If only we were able to trust God's wisdom.
But like Adam and Even in the garden, we've been deceived, too.
Thinking God's ways were too restrictive and confining, we've all jumped out of the fishbowl, so to speak.
We believed true joy is outside of God's moral boundaries.
This is why Jesus was born and why he died.
He was born to show us what life in the fishbowl of God's wisdom looks like and to suffer the consequences of our defying God's wisdom by jumping out of the bowl, what the Bible calls transgression–because a transgression is going across a boundary.
On the cross, it was as if Jesus was allowing himself to be cast outside the bowl onto the floor, to suffer the penalty our sins deserve.
When we receive Jesus as our sin-bearer who gave himself unto death for us, we also receive the Holy Spirit to guide us in a new life as a follower of Jesus.
Now, filled with the Spirit, we are given a new desire to live within the boundaries of God's wisdom, knowing his ways are not to restrict us but to bless us.
It is this desire the apostle Paul expresses for his friends in Colossians 1:9-10,
We have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. (NLT, emphasis mine)
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