It is common for parents and guardians to create safeguards around their homes in order to prevent their children from gaining access to things they are not quite ready to use.
Parents utilize electrical socket covers to prevent their children from placing an object in a socket that might cause a harmful electrical shock. They blockade the staircases with plastic locked gates to keep their child from tumbling down.
All household cleaners are tucked away and out of reach.
Even the manufacturers of various over-the-counter medicines intentionally design their bottles as child-proof, making it quite difficult for a child to simply twist a cap to open a bottle of medicine.
Once a child reaches a certain age, he or she then has the mental capacity to properly descend and ascend a set of stairs.
Children after a certain age can understand the function of an electrical socket, and will only plug compatible cords in them.
Children eventually understand the function of household cleaners. They are no longer just colorful liquids that appear appetizing to drink.
The function of the hot stove becomes clear. It in fact is not made for touching, but for cooking.
As children grow older, the safeguards that parents and guardians set are lowered because children eventually grow the mental capacity to understand the functions of the objects around them.
Until those functions are understood, one of the many roles of the parent is to protect their children from people, places, and things.
In the United States, 18 is the agreed upon age of majority in most states.
The age of majority is the age at which a person is granted by law the rights and responsibilities of an adult. -Merriam Webster
When a person turns 18, it is as if the many safeguards of life dwindle away.
It is as if society tells us that once you turn 18, the protections you had as a minor no longer apply because now you are of a certain age where you are responsible enough to make your own decisions.
Now, you are ready to experience freedom.
But who protects the adult?
Who sets up safeguards to protect adults from using things and people outside of their functions?
Who keeps adults from hurt, harm, and danger?
Children aren't the only ones who need safeguards.
In an autonomous centered society, freedom is what a lot of us seek.
Freedom to choose.
Freedom to govern our bodies.
Freedom to speak our minds.
Freedom to live how we want to live.
The most common definition of freedom we have come to accept in society is the following, as cited from Merriam Webster:
Freedom (noun): The power to do what you want to do: the ability to move or act freely.
Life is truly beautiful.
There are so many ways to make memories with the people you love.
There are countless places to travel and countless people to meet.
There are hundreds of foods to try and the funniest shows to binge-watch.
There are many songs to dance to.
Many places to get pampered.
Beautiful nature to observe.
Much love to experience.
Life is beautiful and we should enjoy it.
But just like the sweet children of the world, we also need safeguards.
We need safeguards to prevent us from using things and people outside of their functions.
There are certain places we should not enter, people we should not encounter, and things we should not try.
" I have the right do anything," you say- but not everything is beneficial. "I Have the right to do anything"- but not everything is constructive." 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV
The things that make up this world are not meant to try just once.
Once you try them, you want more and more.
Most industries are designed for profit, but portrayed as beneficial.
They are made to get you to try a product or service again and again and for you to refer others to do the same.
Word of mouth.
Share your experience.
Coupons, deals, advertisements, previews, teasers, sequels, and trailers are all designed to keep you coming back for more.
We find freedom in these things.
We find freedom in the ability to navigate the world and to utilize the things within it as we please.
Sometimes, however, the very things we look to for freedom can keep us bound.
Our unchecked freedoms can cause us to find comfort in all the wrong places, all the wrong people, and all the wrong things.
When abused and used outside of their context for the purpose of comfort, these things can hold us captive.
When things are taken outside of God's original purpose and design for them, there is no way they can provide you true comfort or freedom.
That is not their function.
This is why the people, places, and things we cling to for freedom and comfort are so fleeting.
Food. Sex. Money. Fame. Attention. Retail Therapy. People. Social Media. Retweets. Shares. Likes. Social Status. Goals. Plastic Surgery. Wealth. Perfection. Perception.
Their true function is not to comfort and give us freedom.
Just like children, we must be careful to use things within their true function.
Some things we should not use at all.
Until we realize that, the very things we turn to for freedom will actually enslave us, leave us bound, and wanting more.
There is another meaning of freedom that many of us tend to overlook:
The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. The state of not being subject to or affected by a particular undesirable thing. - Merriam Webster
What if freedom is less about the power to live as you please, but more about having the authority to not be consumed by the things of this world?
As believers, we have a safeguard who follows us wherever we go.
He is unlike a parent who can only be in one place at a time.
He is omnipresent.
He is omnipotent.
He is God.
He keeps us from falling.
He is the ultimate safeguard.
It is arrogant to believe that once we reach a certain age of maturity, that we no longer need safeguards around us.
Protection is not just limited to the child.
We never stop needing guidance.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12 NIV
Even a mature adult lacks the mental capacity to handle such a magnitude of forces.
Only God can do that.
He can handle the seen and unseen.
He can equip you with the armor and safeguards necessary to protect you and to help you stand your ground:
"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." Ephesians 6:14-18 .
We can't turn to things of the world to save us from the things of the world.
You can't cling to the things of the world to save you from the things of the world.
God is our safeguard.
Maturity does not prevent us from needing him.
If anything, it makes us need him more.