Railroad tracks are a symbol of both limitation and freedom. A train has to stay on the tracks. I’d call that limiting; a derailment means the train’s going nowhere. To have the freedom to go across the country a train needs to be limited to the railroad tracks.
Humans are a lot like trains. We find our greatest freedom in setting limits for ourselves and committing to something at the exclusion of other things. For instance, my wife Diann has the freedom to sit down at a piano and play a beautiful piece of music. This freedom, however, only came after she limited herself, for years as a little girl, from playing with dolls or watching TV and, instead, sitting at the piano bench and practicing, practicing, practicing. OK, maybe her mother also helped limit her time at other things to focus on practicing the piano!
The Ten Commandments are a set of ten “thou shalt not” commands, but saying “No” in these ten specific areas allows us to say “Yes” to all that God has planned for us. Saying “yes” to following Christ instead of following our own whims and will sets us free to live as God intended for us to live. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us – by me and Silas and Timothy – was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No,’ but in him it has always been ‘Yes.’” (2 Corinthians 1:19)
Yielding to the control of God might, on the surface, seem self-limiting. People have said, particularly younger folks, that they will get serious about God when they get older, but that they want to have their fun and live life to the full for the time being. What they’re saying is that God is a killjoy and that they’ll live life His way when they’re old and there’s little fun left in life anyway, turning to God just in time, before they meet their Maker. What a ludicrous idea of God!
Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) By seeking to limit ourselves to God’s will for our lives we open ourselves up to the unlimited possibilities of what He can do for us and through us, for now and forever!
When the train stays on the tracks it can go places. When we track with God we can too!