Prison Bars or Guardrails: Understanding God

How are you at understanding God? What comes to mind when you hear these words?




Restrictions? Limits?


Safety. Freedom.

I watch my teenager as we hash out rules, boundaries, and expectations.

He sees prison bars. “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.” Psalm 2:2-3

We see guardrails. “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32 (NIV)

What we see as life giving, he sees as suffocating.

Cutting off life. Cutting off “freedom.”

Yet—the very opposite is true. Liberty comes through submission. Submission to God and to His rule in our lives. Take, for example, God’s commands regarding sex. God says sex is for marriage. One man. One woman. For keeps. Nothing before marriage. Nothing outside of marriage afterward.

Prison bars or guardrails?

Many scream, “Prison!” but how many relationships, marriages, and families have gone over the cliff because someone blew through the guardrail?

A few moments of pleasure.

A lifetime of consequences—physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Is understanding God so difficult? Yet we give Him a hard time for trying to protect us from that kind of pain.

The author of Hebrews encourages us to see past the bars to understanding God and the heart of His commands:

God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12: 7b-11)

Holiness. Righteousness. Peace.

With that comes healthy relationships and few regrets.

Parents, trust God. And kids, trust Mom and Dad.

Think guardrails.


When have you rebelled (inwardly or outwardly) against a rule?

How did it turn out?

Your view of God influences your view of His “guardrails.” How do you see Him?

Is your view truthful? Can you back it up with Scripture and the picture of God which Jesus gives?

Family Application:

Talk about guardrails and prison bars.

Why are the guardrails there?

Do they serve the same purpose as prison bars?

What’s the difference?


What God sees as life giving, we see as suffocating. Click To Tweet
Yet—the very opposite is true. Liberty comes through submission. Click To Tweet
We give God a hard time for trying to protect us from pain. Click To Tweet
Think guardrails. Click To Tweet

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