Herman the crab stormed across the sea floor and under the family rock.
"I want to be free!" he screamed at his father. "I don't see how you can expect me to wear this stupid shell twenty-four hours a day! It's confining! It cramps my style!"
His father, Fred, inhaled deeply and draped a heavy claw on Herman's shoulder.
"Son," he said, "let me tell you a story."
Herman rolled his eyes. "Dad, not another ..."
"It's about Humphrey the human, who insisted on going barefoot to school. He complained that his shoes were too confining. They cramped his style, he said. He longed to be free to run barefoot through fields and streams. Finally, his mother gave in to him. He skipped out of the house barefoot. Do you know what happened?"
Herman opened his mouth, but his father continued before he could answer.
"Humphrey the human stepped on pieces of a broken bottle. His foot required twenty stitches, and some other guy took his girl to the prom while Humphrey sat home watching reruns of Flipper."
"That's a pretty lame story, Dad," Herman said.
"Maybe, Son, but the point is this: Every crab has felt this way at one time or another, thinking life would be better if he could be completely shell-free. But that's like a sailor getting tired of the confinement of a ship and jumping to freedom in the sea. He may think that's freedom, but if he doesn't get back to ship or shore, he'll drown and end up as crab food. What kind of freedom is that?"
Herman pondered his father's words.
"Soon you will shed your shell, Son," Fred said, thinking how hard it would be to say that five times fast. "It's called molting, and all crabs do it as they grow up. But," he said with warning in his eyes, "when that happens, you will be more vulnerable than at any other time in your life. Until your new shell hardens like this one-" he tapped his son's armored back"you'll have to be much more careful and watchful than usual. You'll be less free without this shell, not more free."
"That's weird, Dad," Herman said. "I never thought of it that way. You mean that some things may seem to limit freedom but really make greater freedom possible?"
Fred smiled broadly and patted his son on the back with a mammoth claw. "How'd you get to be so smart, Son?" he asked.
REFLECT: What, according to John 8:31, must happen before you can know the truth? Think of John 8:31-32 like a math problem: Obeying Jesus' teachings + knowing the truth = FREEDOM.
PRAY: "Lord, I really do want to be free. Help me to learn all about your teachings so that I can obey them."