Rejoice, young man, in your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant in the days of your young manhood. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the desires of your eyes, but know that God will bring you into judgment for all these things. Therefore, remove sorrow and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, for childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.
I remember the day I moved out of my parents’ house. Leaving the family home did not bring so much fear or apprehension as it brought excitement for the freedom that awaited me. From a young age I imagined how great it would be to come and go as I please and be in charge of my life. I remember thinking how great it would be that I could eat whatever I wanted for dinner, or I could even skip dinner and just have dessert. I thought no rules applied any longer. Unfortunately, I would make the same mistake that many people make, and I would confuse my freedom for a license to be as evil as I wanted to be. I followed my wayward heart and evil eyes with no thought of consequences or judgment. What I left in my wake was a trail of brokenness for myself and for others.
God surely gives us great freedom in this life. We are so free that He does not make us come to him and love him. He gives each person the will to approach him freely or reject him. Accordingly, this scripture tells us to follow our hearts and our eyes, but that comes with a warning. Simply because we are free to decide how we act does not mean that we are to abuse that freedom. God’s assignment of freedom is not so that we can live recklessly but so that we can learn to live responsibly. The proper approach is to learn through him how to rein ourselves in and live free yet controlled and obedient. God’s calling is not about restriction and being bound by rules. He calls us to a life in which we are free to live in complete liberty from that which naturally binds humankind.
This life of great freedom that God makes available to us is not without its bounds. We are to live it bound to God’s wisdom. When we try to be free from that, we simply end up being bound to everything that opposes that wisdom. We end up living lives that appear to be free yet are enslaved to the worst kind of bondage. It is the bondage that has eternal consequences. When we consider living in freedom as intended by God, let us put off mankind’s idea of liberty. Let us instead search the scriptures for what God’s brand of freedom looks like. Father, give us the wisdom and obedience to live our lives completely free in You within the bounds that You have set for us.