Red Light, Green Light
I was ironing my clothes to get ready for a time of worship and my four year old started chattering away. He glanced at my task and out of no where declared, "Red means danger."
"Yes," I replied wondering where that came from besides the fact that my shirt was a lovely shade of dark red.
"Green means go.... and yellow means...," He paused almost to put emphasis on the next thought. "Slow down."
And thus it is in life.
God gives us boundaries because He loves us. It is like a big green light and He encourages us to Go! Live life to the fullest! The boundaries keep us safe. It gets a little sloppy if we start to weave but if we stay on track we can safely be on our way. In Christ we are secure, safe, accepted and significant.
Temptation is like being in the yellow. James 1:12-15 tells us that temptation is not a sin but it is a signal to slow down. Temptation (including coping strategies) is an attempt to fill our needs for safety/security, acceptance and significance in ways that are outside of the boundaries and freedom that God has given us. We can clue into this as a symptom that we need to press into Him and ask Him to heal a hurt deep within us. This happens in layers.
A red light is like giving into temptation and it gets really messy if we keep going instead of halting. How many red lights can you risk going through before you end up in an accident? What will be the cost of that accident?
God always gives us a path back...He can and desires to restore and reconciliate us to Him. It is so much easier if we recognize the yellow and stay in the green.