Playing on the Line
This past weekend I went camping with my wife's family. They all LOVE camping. Me... not so much. It's kind of become the family joke that camping is just not my thing... but do love spending time with the whole family so I go as much as I can.
When we head to the beach we only really have one rule for the kids. If no adult is in the water they are NOT allowed to go pass the roped off area. The lake has this big section of the water roped off to show everyone where it is safe to swim. The section that is roped off is huge, probably a couple of hundred meters of great water to play in.
What struck me yesterday was how every single time the adults are out of the water and we force the kids back into the roped area... well... where do they end up swimming and playing? RIGHT ON THE ROPE! They spend the entire time sitting right on the line! And of course you know what happens... one of them eventually crosses over the line... and immediately makes up excuses. "Someone pushed me over the line", "I fell over the line", "It's not my fault". This both made me laugh and drove me crazy. Both as a dad and as a pastor.
What is it about the line that makes us want to go right up to it???
I talk to so many Christians who seem to have no problem living their lives right on the line. Whether that's how they handle their money, or their view of sex, or how they treat people, or their view of sin. They are totally happy living their lives right on the line.
And then they're quick to make up every excuse in the book when they cross over it! Someone pushed them. Someone tricked them. Lots of excuses but not a really understanding of the problem.
They shouldn't have been anywhere near the line!
I think what happens when we spend to much time playing on the line is that we forget that it's there. We can't see the line because we're standing on it. So it's incredibly easy to step over it into dangerous waters.
I don't believe God put lines in our lives in order to keep us from having a fun filled life. I don't believe God is a cruel parent trying to ruin all of our fun. I firmly believe that God loves us so much that he only wants what is best for us. Just like I know that my 10 year old son isn't a good enough swimmer to get back to shore if he gets stuck in a strong current, God knows that we don't have the strength to deal with the temptations that can linger on the line.
That's why I love how the apostle puts in it 1 Corinthians 6:18. He says "Flee from sexual immorality." He doesn't say stay put, you'll be OK because God loves you and will protect you and not let you bare more than you can handle. He says to GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE! Run away! Get off the line! Run from it and don't be anywhere near the line!!
Regardless of how long you've been walking with Jesus, every single person, given the right situation, is just one decision from doing something stupid. Whether that's bad choices with your money, cheating on your spouse, lying to your employer... whatever it may be for you... if you spend too much time playing on the line you may not even notice when you step over it.
I just spent the last 3 days trying to get my kids off that rope. I did that because I love them and I want them to be safe.
How long has God been trying to tell you to get off that rope and back into safer water? I pray you'll listen to him.