It takes work.
And a strong leash.
But a loving owner has to do it, as unpleasant as it can sometimes be.
The dog will pull and drag and jump and try to run away, even though he likes going out and being with you. He's so excited. He has tons to do and a very definite agenda. He's glad you're along for the ride but, well, it's his ride.
He has no clue.
That's what obedience training is for.
It's the owner's job to hold on tight until the dog learns what is best for him and ultimately, for everybody. And, even after he's learned, he still needs a firm hand because without it, you know exactly what will happen.
Woo hoo! I'm outa here!
So who restrains me? Who keeps me from getting in trouble?
That, my friends, is the job of the Holy Spirit.
And He does it not only for me, but for everybody else. And that's what I'm thinking about today.
The mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains it will do so until He is taken out of the way.--2Thessalonians 2:7
The Holy Spirit holds our leash. As a believer, He holds mine to the extent my free will allows Him, but he also holds back the effects of general evil among the unbelieving world, a world that benefits from a restraint they don't understand and don't recognize.
Do you remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining that He may be revealed in His own time.--2Thessalonians 2:5
I can't imagine a world in which evil is not restrained.
It's bad enough the way things are.
Megalomaniacs. Serial Killers. Genocide. They are rare. Truly. That's why we notice them and are outraged. What would the world be like if atrocities were our daily fare? I can't. I don't think anybody really can. The world could be overrun by evil, but it isn't.
The Holy Spirit is holding the leash of evil.
Someday, He will let go of His leash, but until then, I can use this time if I understand what it is for. It is within the bounds of His restraint that I can use what He teaches me to form a healthy conscience. I can learn to follow His laws. I can learn to enjoy and share His love. I can learn holiness. Holiness. Communion with a holy God. If I really were a dog, it might look like this: