Staying Between The Lines

Highway1

For the better part of the last century, any person driving the roads of America (and most other countries) have experienced something every time they get behind the wheel. It is something that, although we often take it for granted, guides every mile we drive down the highways and byways…

The painted lines in the road.

Whether double yellow lines, dotted lines, white lines, or any other lines that the DOT has taken the time to paint, we look to those lines without even thinking, to guide us in our travels, and to keep us safe.

Seems kind of crazy, huh? I mean, think about it: We are expecting an assortment of painted strips and symbols on the roadways to guide and protect us from the hazards and pitfalls of driving. Without thinking much about it, we typically abide by what the paint instructs us to do, and travel about from place to place, heeding its direction. We speed down the roads in relative safety, assuming that everyone else on the road will do the same, and abide by the paint’s instruction.

We have faith that the little strip of paint on the road is going to keep the 20-ton semi hurtling toward us on its own side of the road.

While we may not understand why a road is designated “one way”, the paint on the road reflects that it is so, and we don’t question its validity… we just do what it says.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, while driving down the road on a foggy night — when I can’t see the road ahead of me, or even the shoulder beside me — all I have to guide me is the reflection of my headlights off of the reflective paint on the road.

And through all of it, we are making a lot of assumptions. We assume the driver heading toward is alert, and is abiding by the same rules of driving etiquette we are. We take it for granted that, as we travel down that one way street, every other driver on the road recognizes the clearly stated flow of traffic, and abides by it. We hope and pray that, when we are driving slow and nearly blind on a foggy night, that the guys who painted the lines knew what they were doing, and didn’t dead-end the lines off the side of a cliff.

If you think about it realistically, what is keeping that other driver on his side of the road?

Absolutely NOTHING.

The vast majority of accidents on our roadways, in one way or another, are caused because someone didn’t follow the paint… someone didn’t stay between the lines.

“So, Pastor… what does this have to do with ANYTHING????”

I’m glad you asked.

God has painted lines on the road of human history that are intended to be followed. He gave us a driver’s manual called  “The Bible” that He meant to guide us along the journey. When we get into trouble — as individuals or as a society — it is generally because we have not stayed between the lines. We may not like the lines. We may not like the way they look, what they represent, or how they make us feel at a given time. We may not understand the logic, reasoning, or thought processes that went behind the formation of the lines.

But the lines are there nonetheless, and our wants, wills, desires, dreams, or intentions have no bearing on their existence… or the consequences of violating their borders.

Just as a 20-ton semi hurtling down the road, there is nothing there to stop us from crossing the lines God has drawn. Man has — from creation — been given a free will. Should we choose to go outside the lines of the laws of God, we do so at our own peril. Paul writes in Galatians 6…

 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

We can decide to travel against the flow of history, and ignore natural law. We can choose to ignore the “One-Way” signs, and presume that there are many ways to God… that as long as we are earnest in our belief, we will one day reach Heaven. But just like the person going the wrong way down that one-way street, it won’t take long before we are proven wrong. Jesus said…

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~John 14:6

It all comes down to faith. Following His lead, regardless of public opinion, political winds, or the fleshly yearnings of our own hearts. In Hebrews 11:6, Paul said…

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

And in those times when we can’t see clearly, and are fraught with fear, doubt, and insecurity, God has given us fellow believers (Godly friends, pastors, teachers, etc.) to reflect His love and wisdom, and help guide us along the path when the thick fog closes in around us.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. ~ Colossians 3:16

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

In a culture that is more and more running off the road and into the ditch of immorality and unGodliness, it is more important than ever for the Church of Jesus Christ to lift high His banner, proclaim His Word, and keep the lines clearly painted on the roadway.

 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16

Stone-Phillips

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