One of the most simple but important driving lessons we learned in kindergarten: stay between the lines! In driving you must keep yourself from veering to the left and the right. We must keep ourselves between the yellow center line and the white shoulder line. What do these two colored lines represent on the road of discipleship? Let’s explore two very significant lines we need to respect in our life with God. Remember, God’s word said it first:
“Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot (or accelerator!) from evil” (Proverbs 4:27).
If Jesus was a driving instructor, then the best question his ambitious student driver ever asked was the following: “Teacher, which is the greatest traffic law?” Jesus didn’t hesitate in his answer, which had two directions to it:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt 22:37-40 NIV).
Back in the driver seat of our car, we’ll notice that crossing either the yellow or white lines will run us into trouble. For the sake of this analogy, the yellow center line keeps us from harming others and the white shoulder line keeps us from harming ourselves. Jesus’ two commands do the same thing. God created us to live both in harmony with Himself and with others. (Scot McKnight calls these two commandments the Jesus Creed.)
When we love God with our entire being, and our entire life is oriented around God, then we experience life to the full and avoid self-destructive behaviors that would drive us across the white line and land us in any number of moral ditches. When we learn to love our neighbors as ourselves (which flows out of the commandment to love God) then we avoid all those head-on, relational collisions that come when we cross over the yellow line in our relationships with our neighbors.
The road of Christian discipleship demands that we keep following closely after (even tailgating!) Christ who showed us how to stay between the yellow and white lines, loving both God and others.
1. As you look at your life right now, which line do you tend to cross over more? Yellow or white?
2. Which kinds of “moral ditches” do you find yourself in most? What kinds of behavior prevents you from staying between the white and yellow lines?