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When I was a teenager I was somewhat of a rascal, and even with this description I am playing down my mischievousness.

In the summer before I was fifteen, I slept outside every night, but not to observe the stars or enjoy the night air. I slept out to prowl.

We had an incinerator in our yard made of cinderblocks about four feet square and equally as high. At the time it was legal to burn rubbish on your yard, and so incinerators were common. I would lay a blanket down under my sleeping bag, positioning the incinerator between me and the house to hide my whereabouts and my shenanigans. As soon as the lights in the house went out, I was off to connect with my friends who were also sleeping out. This went on for the first few weeks of summer until I arrived home one morning at about 6 am. I slipped into my sleeping bag, turned over a few times and looked up to see my parents standing over me.

“Where have you been?” they queried.

After that they told me I could no longer sleep out. So I begged them, pleaded and whined until they let me sleep out on the back porch. I told them, “Surely I could never sneak off from the porch from right under their noses.” They fell for it. And for another two weeks I was able to carouse with my friends until my parental units got wise and confined me to my room for the rest of the summer.

But never fear. I just waited until my parents were asleep. Then I snuck out my bedroom window onto the adjacent roof, tiptoed to the back of the house, climbed down the back porch pillar to the ground and was off and running for the rest of the summer. They thought they had the goods on me but I was a kid and I was in “how much can I get away with” mode.

I have found that big kids, some who are Christians, and some who are not, will test the waters with God as well and wonder, “How much can I get away with?”

They may wonder…how much can I miss going to church? How much can I fudge on my prayers and Bible reading? How much can I shirk my responsibility as an employee…or a husband…or a parent? How much lying…how much lusting…how much stealing…how much cheating…how much cursing…how much carousing…can I get away with?

It is actually the wrong question. The right question was asked in the book of Romans from the Bible two thousand years ago. It reads “Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace?”

The answer is also in Romans 6:1-2. It reads, “God forbid! How can we who are dead to sin live any longer in it?”

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