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I can't believe I get paid for teaching the high ropes course. Sadly, I don't get to zip down the zip line or fly like a squirrel, but I watch people conquer fears and push themselves beyond their comfort zone. Their tasks look frightful, but really, so much safety is woven into the fabric of the course, that one has to work hard to be in danger.
We start by tying a double Studebaker. One probably would hold, but he put in a double. Our final square knot has two safety knots. This harness is then checked by the instructors. The belayer wears her own, with a friction device, and heavy rope, she attaches herself to the climber after checking her harness. This would be about the second check.
The climber, attached firmly to the belayer, climbs the zip tree. At the top, his harness is checked again. She stays attached to the belay rope until she's tied onto the zip pulley. Every caribeaner is squeeze checked--before the climb begins, as the harness is swapped out.
It's then she gets to zip down the steel cable that had been inspected. Layered under all safety protocols are the years of training the teachers and inspectors hold. The course is designed so that if one tool fails, another will hold.
So, too, with God. We are told Galatians the works of the flesh, as defined in The Message:Is "...trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom."
Why is sex out of marriage bad? Getting tipsy? Working for the most toys? One upping our neighbor? Some of these things, in themselves, may not hurt us or others right now. However, eventually, a sinful lifestyle will hurt us and others. When we're tipsy, we may flirt. When we flirt, we find ourselves falling in love. Then come affairs, sexually transmitted diseases, destroyed marriages, ruined health, death. One drink, like our harness not tied with a square knot, probably won't kill us or ruin our lives. However, if we get behind the wheel and our charmed life flee, what can the consequences be?
Be safe. Obey God. His ways are not designed to ruin our lives, but to save them.