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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"In" or "Out"?

Oh, that every part of my life would remain in line with what You require!  Then I would feel no shame when I fix my eyes upon Your commands.  With a pure heart, I will give thanks to You when I hear about Your just and fair rulings.
I will live within Your limits; 
do not abandon me completely!  (Psalm 119:5-8 VOICE)

I looked up the phrase "in line with" in an online dictionary and saw this definition: "to cause to conform or agree with". Most of our challenges in life are because we have somehow become "out of line with" what God requires. We have chosen our own way, determined our own course of action.  We thought the "line" was too hard - it "confined" us too much.  On the other hand, when we chose to cross the line, we might have just realized our "newfound freedom" was just a little more than we bargained for!

As a young woman, just learning to drive, I was in my friend's car and she gave me the permission to drive.  Thinking I was hot stuff, I went barreling down the gravel road at a pace similar to that of Indy drivers intent on qualifying for the next race!  We were in the off-roads near Anchorage, enjoying an afternoon of fun at the lake, and there I was enjoying this newfound freedom.  There weren't any real "rules" to follow - no posted speed limits, not police officers with radar guns, etc.  Add to that the "let me show you how it is done" attitude I had as a youth and we had a recipe for disaster!

The afternoon fun came to a screeching halt when I high centered it in a large ditch to the right of the roadway probably carved out by run-off in mud season. The small hole my folly produced in the gas tank left a tell-tale reminder of my extreme ease at pushing the outer limits of the "line"!  We all made it home safely that day, but I was humbled and ashamed at my behavior!  I "knew" better, but didn't hold to what I "knew" because my desire to "impress" others overrode all sense of reason and rational behavior!

I don't think it should amaze any of us how easily we can push the limits on occasion.  We ALL have this tendency - maybe not by driving at break-neck speed on an unsafe roadway with a car fully loaded with people - but we do find ways to not only push the line, but cross it!  In tennis, when the ball strikes the line, the ball is called as "in bounds".  The player should have been able to respond to it and hit it back into the opponent's court.  The issue is that the ones which land "on the line" are so close to being called "out of bounds" that we can be fooled.  In life, the behaviors which come so close to the line can actually be the ones that give us the greatest challenge because we don't see the subtle difference between being "on the line" or just marginally "over it".

I think the best way to stay "in line" with what God desires for our lives is to ask him to be our "line judge".  This means he points out the boundaries to us, then he lets us go about staying within those lines.  At the point we are too close to the line, he will be the one to make the call of "in bounds" or "out".  It is the only way we can be sure we are making the right "plays" in life.  Just sayin!