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October 24, 2005


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Staying in Between the Lines
By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist
web posted October 24, 2005

If you want to know how your family life is changing, look at your refrigerator. You can tell where you are in life by what is hanging on your refrigerator door. If you are newly married and childless, you will find an array of items from pet pictures to recipes.  If you have young children, your refrigerator door has become an art gallery filled with scribbled items from artistic geniuses. If your children are older, the refrigerator door becomes the family calendar for practices, meetings, games, and events. When the children leave home the refrigerator door holds the reminders for doctor appointments. And then, suddenly it springs back to life once again as the grandchildren’s art museum and gallery. Your refrigerator has come full circle.

It was looking at a refrigerator that made me realize just how much coloring, baseball, football, basketball, and driving have in common. To do each of these well you have to learn to stay in between the lines. In coloring, going outside the lines shows a need for maturation. In sports, it stops the game because you are out of bounds. In driving, well, let’s just say that old saying, “If you don’t like the way I drive then get off the sidewalk,” really doesn’t apply. Your insurance company would rather you keep your car between the lines.

In life, lines are their for our enjoyment, safety, and guidance. You can readily tell if you are making progress in art, driving, or sport by how you are doing with staying between the lines. After all, in between the lines is where all the fun happens. You can’t hit a home run outside the lines; you can’t score a touchdown outside the lines; you can’t tell what the picture is if you color outside the lines; you definitely have trouble if you continually drive outside of the lines.

This is the very reason God has established lines in life. It lets us know how we are doing. Just like there are consequences for going outside the lines in the areas mentioned, there are consequences for going outside the lines spiritually as well. What we need to do is increase our realization of where the lines are and why they are there.

The lines are there to keep us in play spiritually. Stepping out of bounds halts play spiritually just like it does athletically. True spiritual joy and peace comes from staying in bounds in our relationship to God. Stepping out of bounds (sin) serves only to halt the progress the Lord wants for our lives. Forgiveness comes when the Lord allows us back on to the playing field, restarting the clock, and allowing us, through the forgiveness of the cross, to once again begin to move forward.

Being aware of where the lines are is vital. How many touchdowns have been missed because the receiver didn’t get that one foot down inside the line. Our awareness of stepping outside the lines is an aspect of faith that grows as we spend more time in the Lord. Certain things that used to be acceptable to me are no longer viewed as okay. Why? Simple, the more I get to know the Lord, the more I become aware of the lines. It’s not that the playing field or the outline is shrinking, my awareness of the lines is increasing. The more I know where the lines are, the longer I enjoy the game or the more vivid the picture comes out.

David wrote a psalm shortly after his sin with Bathsheba. Psalm 52 contains these verses about lines: For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight. (verses 3-4) David certainly stepped out from between the lines in his adultery with this woman. He shares that the sin was always in front of him while he refused to confess it before the Lord and return to the playing field. When he did confess, the joy of being right before God returned. (verse 12)

Look at your feet spiritually. Are they between the lines or has the progress in life momentarily stopped because you find yourself out of bounds? The picture of your life that you are coloring, is it distorted because you can’t stay in the lines? The solution is easy. Tell the Lord you want back on the field or you want another clean page to color. He stands ready to forgive, teach, love, and show you where the lines are and why they are there. Bring your crayons and I’ll see you in His House Sunday. We’ll learn to stay in between the lines together.



Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
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