Dogs are intelligent, but Charles Medley of Rockford, Illinois, had some doubts about his dog Bullet. Whenever Bullet heard a squirrel, a rabbit, or a person, he would take off like a shot in the direction of that sound. It didn’t matter that he was tied up. By the time he reached the end of his rope, he’d be traveling at maximum velocity, heading straight for his target. But in an instant, his strong rope would pull taut and jerk Bullet to a jarring, sprawling halt. That beagle never learned his limits.

God has built into us a moral tug on the soul whenever we go beyond what is good for us. It’s called conscience. Unlike Bullet’s rope, however, it doesn’t stop us from going too far. Furthermore, conscience can be deadened when we violate it repeatedly, and it can be programmed with wrong information so that we may feel guilty when no real guilt exists, or we may be guilty and not feel it.

We must learn the moral limits God places on us for our own good and then choose to live within them. By reading God’s Word and trusting His Spirit to teach us, our conscience becomes attuned to God’s standard of right and wrong. This helps us to know our limits and to experience the freedom and joy that living within them brings.