Yelping joyously, their toenails scrabbling on the concrete, the twin Weimaraners bolted down the driveway and careened onto the asphalt road beyond. And I trailed regally behind them, leashes firmly in hand, on my roller blades.
What a great way to exercise two 80-pound dogs! I thought. I fondly watched their gray flanks as we neared the first corner and I wondered -- fleetingly -- how to communicate which way I wanted them to go.
No worries. They smoothly negotiated the turn and accelerated DOWN the resulting hill and I used my feeble water-skiiing skills to keep pace in a sweeping turn across both lanes and the shoulder.
OK. Going downhill now at, oh, 35 miles per hour? And look! The dogs seem to be, well, a little AFRAID of the sound that my roller blades make at this speed. But they have the answer ... ACCELERATE!
A famous atheist -- Ayn Rand -- once said: "A leash is only a rope with a noose at both ends." I begin to see her point. But I also think, "If she'd ever held THIS leash, she'd have quickly reconsidered inviting Jesus into her life!"
Before things could get any more out of hand, I directed the roller blades into the grass alongside the road and tumbled gracelessly to the ground -- becoming a bouncing anchor that eventually stalled my runaway Weimaraners.
Bruised, shaken, but laughing and thrilled to be alive, I reeled in my dogs and thanked God I hadn't tied them to the handlebars of my racing bike instead (yes, the thought had crossed my mind!)
Ayn Rand's message was that when we seek to control something, it controls us as well. It doesn't only apply to roller-blading with Weimaraners, nor is it uniquely suited to atheists.
Consider what happens when we, as Christians, decide we can control sinful behavior in our lives. We put a leash on our anger, our gluttony, our lust, our pride. And we careen down the driveway with those dogs in full gallop -- not realizing the leash won't help us when we are on roller blades.
Society tells us that anything is OK in moderation. So we are tempted to walk the edge. Society tells us that if we are strong, we can resist temptation. Sometimes we don't realize the fallacy until we are rushing headlong into something we can no longer avoid.
Remember 1 Peter 5:8 -- "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
So, instead of trying to control sin, we are advised to avoid temptation by giving it to God. We may pray that He protect us from temptation as in Matthew 26:41:
"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
And we can trust that God will always give us a way out when temptation comes, as stated in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
But I will tell you from experience: Trusteth not thine own leash, nor thine roller blades!"