CROSSING THE LINES
By: Mike Collins

A couple of months ago I was driving the narrow, twisting, turning backroads that led home. After pulling into the driveway and stepping out of my vehicle I noticed something that really left me disgusted. At first I thought it was mud from the tires, but after closer inspection I determined it to be State-Road Yellow paint splashed on the driver's-side of my Jeep Grand Cherokee. Apparently I overlooked the Wet Paint signs crews had left behind after repainting the centerlines on the ultra-narrow roads.

When I recognized what was on my vehicle I was so angry that I nearly called the State Road Department to give them a piece of my mind. Isn't it funny how we complain about things that are entirely our own fault? I mean, I could have complained about the paint until I was blue in the face, but it never would have changed the fact that I was the very person to blame - after all, it was my careless crossing of the lines that put the paint where it was in the first place.

It's funny how you never realize just how much you actually cross the lines until you have the evidence splashed all over you. I'm no longer talking about asphalt and State-Road Yellow paint; I'm talking about the Strait and Narrow and the mess you can get into when you stray into areas where you don't belong. However, God loves us so much that He often repaints the boundaries in order for us to see them better.

I was angry at the State Road Department for repainting the very lines that have been placed where they are for my personal safety. They are painted and repainted for my own good, and exist for the sole purpose of preventing us from crossing into dangerous areas. If we stay within these painted guidelines we will decrease our chances of getting into messes that we certainly do not belong, and will increase our chance for reaching our destination safely.

As Christians we too have guidelines painted for us to follow as well. If we stay on the Strait and Narrow and stick to the guidelines the Word of God has spelled out, then we will decrease our chances of getting into many undesirable messes, and we will steadily increase our chance of reaching our ultimate destination safely. As Christians our destination is Heaven, and the Christian life we live is the road called the Strait and Narrow.

Napoleon once said, "The Gospel is not merely a book - it is a living power - a book surpassing all others - the soul can never go astray with this book for its guide."

But how does God repaint when the Word of God has already been written? It's simple: He uses painters - we know them as preachers - never adding or taking from the Scriptures, but rather going over the lines again and again in order to bring them to our attention. It's good to know we still have ministers in our pulpits that are not afraid to pick up a brush and apply a fresh coat of paint when needed.

So while on this narrow road if we find ourselves in a mess brought on by our crossing of the lines into areas where we should never have strayed, we need never blame God or the preacher because of painted or repainted guidelines; our blame should be directed to the person doing the driving - ourselves.

This Sunday at church, remember to look for the sign that reads Warning, Wet Paint Ahead and thank God for the guidelines painted for your benefit, then thank your pastor for still carrying the paintbrush to the pulpit.

Watch out ... Wet Paint ... 2jesus

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