Sin. What is your view of sin? Is it a list of everything you can’t do? A list of restrictions and rules on your life? Honestly, that’s exactly what sin has always been for me. It’s the potential offenses I could be charged with as guilty, creating shame and regret.

But, what if all that is labeled as sin is more beautiful than that? Woah, I bet you’ve never thought of a list of rules and restrictions on your life that would be labeled as sin, as something actually beautiful. But here’s what I’m learning … as I understand more of who God is and his true nature, I’m understanding my twisted view on the life he created for me to live has caused a hesitation in my surrender.

What if God labeled certain things as sin, not to keep us from pleasure and fun, but to keep us from regret, to protect us from harm, to shield us from that which he knew would damage our identity in the future. What if God says “don’t do these things”, and it’s for the beautiful purpose of bringing you to the fullness of his good plans for your life, free from the burdens of paths you would mindlessly wander down otherwise.

Lisa Harper’s podcast “Back Porch Theology” explained sin like this. You would tell your toddler not to ride their tricycle into the road, right? Of course you would? And why would you create this rule for them? Because you love them and you want to keep them safe. You want them to enjoy the pleasure of their tricycle without the dangers of the road.

And God wants us to enjoy the pleasure of this life he has given us without the dangers of the world, so he identified the roads we’re not to go in. Those roads are sin. Not out of punishment, limitation, or restriction, but out of his inherent responsibility as our Father to protect us.

But nobody likes to talk about sin. In over 1300 episodes of this podcast, I don’t believe I ever have. But we’re going there today, and we’re changing our view on what we once just thought were limiting rules and restrictions on our lives of all the fun and exciting things we’re not allowed to do as Christ followers. Boxes we had to check to be good girls and make it to heaven, all while fantasizing about occasionally swerving outside of the box and seeing what happened.

Galatians 5: 19-20 “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.”

God’s word says do not be drunken. Not because he doesn’t want us to have fun, but because he knows the danger of that road. Oh how he wants to protect us from that threat when he has a full life of much more beautiful things for us. It’s not to keep you from enjoying your tricycle, it’s to keep you from being run over on it, Sis.

God’s word says don’t sleep around. Hebrews 13:4 MSG “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.” Friends with benefits, inappropriate flirting and conversations, shacking up before you’re married. Hey these are not rules and guidelines to restrict you, they are roads that are dangerous for you. Your loving Heavenly Father simply knows the future pain and problems this could cause and he says, “I don’t want you on that road. Keep your tricycle over here, my girl.”

The more we think of sin as the untouchable dangling fruit we never get to taste, the more we want that dang fruit. But Eve, don’t you know God created that rule of not eating from that tree because it would cause you to carry burdens you weren’t designed to carry? Genesis 2: 16-17 “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

God didn’t create man and woman to have this knowledge. They didn’t even know they were naked, and he didn’t want them to know that. He didn’t want us to know shame and guilt. He didn’t want us to carry burdens and worries. It wasn’t his design for us to deal with the things we now deal with. It all came as a result of eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Suddenly they knew they were naked, they felt shame for the first time, and immediately hid. NOT GOD’S BEST FOR THEM.

The rule was you can eat any fruit you want from any tree I’ve created, except for this one. Don’t eat this one. The rule wasn’t created to restrict Adam and Eve. It wasn’t to limit them or keep them from having something delicious in life. God simply didn’t want them to know evil. It was a road he was protecting them from. When they went into that road, they were subjected to the knowledge of evil, the heavy burdens of worry, the feelings of guilt and shame, none of which God wanted for them.

That which God has declared as sin in your life is a beautiful and gracious protection from what he never created you to endure. He doesn’t desire his girls to walk around regretting all that wine they drank. He never wanted you to have to be ashamed of the guys you slept with. He never, ever designed for your life to be plagued with jealousy, envy, or selfishness. It was a road he wanted to protect you from because it was dangerous for you.

If we started seeing God’s design of sin as a beautiful and gracious protection, instead of some restrictive list of all we can’t do, wouldn’t the temptation be removed?

Woah, what if that’s what Jesus meant when he taught us to pray in Matthew 6, and in verse 13 he says, “and lead us not into temptation.” God, don’t let us run this tricycle into the road. Don’t let us twist our perspective on your loving guardrails listed as sin, and turn them into a forbidden list of things we can’t do, but really want to do. It’s that twisted perspective that creates temptation. It’s our warped belief that we can’t do the fun and exciting things because God is a mean old man with a big stick and he created ridiculous rules for us to follow that make our lives boring.

Lord, lead us not into temptation. Don’t let our minds wander into that perversion. You have created these rules as loving guardrails for our protection.

God, in all of his wisdom and knowledge, with a mind that understands what we can never understand, and eyes that have seen what we have not yet seen, knows our little tricycle in that big road won’t be good for us, so he says, “hey, you can ride your tricycle honey, but you can’t ride it there.”

How about instead of us throwing wild fits and insisting on pushing the limits, we accept that God knows what we don’t know and he’s protecting us from a future we would never, ever choose.

You wouldn’t want addiction. You wouldn’t want regret. You wouldn’t want confusion. You wouldn’t want darkness. You wouldn’t want harmful memories. You would want embarrassing shame. You wouldn’t want bad choices you can’t undo. And God never wanted any of that for you either.

That’s why God says, “this is sin.” That’s why Jesus says pray that that you are not lead into temptation. Ask that your mind not be confused, your view not be twisted, and your desire not be set on thinking you want what you can’t have because it will somehow be better than what you can have.

It won’t be better. It will be dangerous. It will create destruction. It will open your life to pain and problems God never intended for you to endure.

What a shift in perspective. Now that I understand what sin is, I see it’s not a restrictive list of all I can’t do in life, it’s a beautiful list of protection from all God wants to spare me from.

And the really great news is, if you’ve barreled your way through a few of those guardrails and been riding your tricycle in dangerous roads, eating the fruit from trees God wanted to protect you from, Jesus can redeem you and restore you fully! That’s who he is and what he does. He’s here offering your tricycle back to ride and enjoy and live fully, but honey, this time, stay out of the road. You are entirely too loved to be subjected to that danger again.

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