Have you ever driven down the highway and noticed the guardrails on the side of the road? Chances are you haven’t given them much attention but when you need them, you are glad they are there.
Guardrails in our life are the same. We may set them up and not notice them until we need to use them. Guardrails that I am speaking of are a behavioral practice. They are personal convictions. I was speaking to a man at our Bible study who had returned home after living a prodigal life for a season. He told me that his marriage was doing okay, but he allowed another woman to creep in. A co-worker needed a ride home one day and being polite, he obliged. What this man did not realize is that he was opening a door for sin. Before long, he began confiding in this co-worker about disagreements with his wife, frustrations, etc. He began to have his self-esteem built up by this other woman that he allowed to enter his life.
There are some life issues that are obvious to even the worldliest person. The issues I want you to think about are the areas that can sneak up on us. What are some examples of guardrails?
I will not ride in a vehicle with a person of the opposite sex.
I will not confide in a person of the opposite sex and exclude my spouse.
I have decided how my child(ren) will enter the dating world.
I have communicated with my children and they understand guardrails they should have in their life.
I will not hide purchases from my spouse.
I will not use my tithe to pay other bills.
These are a few examples but the list could go on and on. Guardrails are specific convictions that you have taken time to outline. Do you think there would have been a different outcome for the man I spoke to at Bible study if he had some guardrails set up in his life? Would things have been different if he never allowed that “friendship” to evolve with his co-worker?
Pick a city off the map and the situation described above could be easily repeated over and over. It may seem silly to purposefully set up guardrails in our lives but these personal standards are very important.
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Proverbs 27:12
Think back to when your children were young. When you entered a parking lot did you just turn your child lose and let them make it to the storefront on their own? You probably grabbed their hand and warned them of the danger all around them. You probably were on the lookout for cars backing out so you could warn your child of the impending danger. Why are we willing to do this in practical situations, but in moral personal convictions we get lazy?
I have looked at pastors who have fallen morally and asked myself, “How did this happen?” Do you know how most affairs start? They start with innocent actions. A group of professionals may have a meeting at work. After the meeting a man and a woman are innocently speaking about the meeting. One of them may innocently say, “Ugh, I wish I didn’t have to go home now. My spouse and I had a big fight this morning.”
Gaining sympathy from the co-worker, this person has now felt justified in their feelings and feels a connection to this person who is sympathizing with their frustrations. It seems like an innocent conversation until days later when the co-worker asks how things are at home and offers a lunch to “talk about it.” These are the innocent situations that Satan uses to destroy homes.
It may seem silly to set guardrails but it is necessary. As a stander, do you have guardrails set up right now? Your spouse may not be home, but you are praying for restoration? Do you frequently have dinner with people of the opposite sex? What do you think that communicates to your spouse? What does that communicate to those around you who know about your stand? You need to decide today which guardrails you will set up to keep yourself pure while you wait for your spouse.
As parents, we need to help our children with guardrails. Before your child gets into a situation, you need to help them define areas they need to be on alert. One of these areas with our children is movies. My husband and I have helped our children set up guardrails regarding what they will watch. We started early, before it was even an issue. Because of that, it was not uncommon for us to get a call when our kids were at a sleepover. “Mom, the guys want to watch a rated “R” movie. That’s not okay, is it?” Our kids knew the answer, but it helped them have an out when they called us. Your kids and teens are not going to come up with these guardrails on their own. Before they are in the situation, help them define the guardrails so when it arises, they know how to respond.
Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
Don’t let Satan tell you that setting up these personal convictions is crazy. The devil will use any crack he can to get into our lives. Regardless of how innocent a situation seems, don’t let the enemy have any territory. I was leaving church one Wednesday night and it was raining. I noticed one of our pastors running between buildings in an attempt to get to the back of the campus. I thought, “I should just give him a ride. But my husband and I have an agreement about being in a car with a person of the opposite sex. It is just a short ride. What if someone sees him getting out of my car and they don’t know that I just picked him up?” Guess what I did… I drove away. I wasn’t trying to be rude but I was protecting my marriage, my reputation and his reputation. Don’t be afraid to be rude to protect your family.
Do you have any guardrails set up? Comment below and tell me about a situation where those guardrails may have protected your reputation and your family?