It didn't take him long to figure it out. After the thunderstorm on Wednesday, the invisible fence that provides safe boundaries for our dogs wasn't working. From what we could piece together, a lightning strike had fried the control box, rendering the entire system useless. Since we were working outside on Saturday, we let our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Joe, out of his 'bark park' to enjoy frolicking in the rest of the yard, unconfined. The problems began when we tried to put him back in his fenced area.
He knew we were still outside. We could see him getting closer and closer to the white flags that usually activate his collar to warn him that he's in the 'danger' zone. When the system is working, this reminder is usually all it takes to convince Joe that he needs to step back. I can only recall a couple times that he's not heeded the warning. The resulting shock was accompanied by a yelp of pain. After that, it didn't take much to persuade him to stay within his boundaries.
Saturday was different. I was on the hillside and could see Joe creeping stealthily forward, extending his front paws gingerly to see if he was in the 'danger' zone yet. Inch by inch, he made his way through his 'bark park' until his auburn head popped up beside me and I turned to see our Chesepeake, tongue lolling out of his mouth, obviously very pleased with himself. He had beat the system. With no consequences for crossing the fence line, he no longer had to stay within its boundaries. No matter how many times my husband led him back into his area, speaking stern warnings every step of the way, within minutes Joe would reappear on the lawn beside us, what could only be described as a sheepish grin covering his face.
What an amazingly accurate picture of our behavior. God has given us His Word to establish safe boudaries in our lives. Knowing where the lines are drawn, we often gravitate as close to the line as possible. We see others outside of the boundaries that appear to be having fun, supposedly living without consequences for their behavior. We step a little closer. Paul is very clear in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." God will provide a way for us to escape from whatever is tempting us, but we must be actively looking for the escape route He's providing.
Where are you? Living contentedly within God's boundaries? Or toeing the line, making your plans to join those on the other side who seem to be having so much fun? Don't let the devil trick you into questioning God's good intentions. Eve listened to the serpent's words, "Yea, hath God said..." and was quickly deceived (Genesis 3:1; KJV). Heed God's warnings. Remember the truth of Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Know that His boundaries are for your ultimate good and submit to His plans today.