“…Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” – John 8:6-11
Like every sport, baseball has set boundaries for the field of play. And there are rules for what happens when those boundaries are violated. For example, there are chalk lines or a base path leading from home to first base. If a player runs outside the base paths to avoid a tag and runs more than three feet outside of the base path, the runner is out automatically. The batter must stay in the base path.
The Bible has some very specific base paths that we are required to run in. But sometimes we stray outside the base paths. We have the best intentions, but then some temptation enters our lives. We try to prevent the temptation. We set up boundaries to ensure that a relationship doesn’t become too physical too quickly. We set up standards when we know a potential business deal is a little on the unethical side. We draw a line in the sand when it comes to cheating on tests. And we decide that spending too much time away from home has ended for good.
But then something happens. Even with the boundaries in place we compromise, fudge a little by moving out of the base path more than the allotted three feet. When we fail, we are nervous, guilty, ashamed, sad, and angry, all at the same time. We rationalize and come up with the usual excuses like, “well, everybody else cheated because that test was too hard.” Or “well, at least I was not away from home as much as I was last year.” We try to blame somebody else, but at the end of the day, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. We have to accept responsibility for crossing a line in the sand we created and ask God to forgive us.
God does not place us in situations where we are forced to give into temptation. On Sunday, I talked about the areas where I had to draw a line in the sand. In my experience, I found that I put myself in situations and then tried to justify falling to temptation. Here’s the good news. Though I basically tempted myself, the situation allowed God to test me. His testing, and my willingness to be more careful to not run out of the base paths and my increasing dependence on Him has truly refined my faith. We will mess up. We are not perfect. But we can seek harder and harder after God and continue to draw our power and strength from him when we find ourselves outside the lines we have drawn. When I failed, I turned toward God and plugged into His strength, peace, and hope to overcome any temptation. Had I tried this on my own, I believe I would have continued to fail.
Pray for God to help you in building Biblical boundaries. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom, direction, and power to remain within His boundaries. When you draw a line and keep it, it will lead to peace, joy, and love and contribute to a Home Run Life.
- What are legitimate boundaries? Why are setting boundaries important?
- In what areas have you drawn a line in the sand in the last few years? What did it take to overcome the temptation?
- Is setting boundaries a matter of priorities? Luke 16:13 says: “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”