The indicators are everywhere. You can’t miss them. Crossing guards are in place. Yellow busses with flashing strobe lights mounted on top are everywhere. The stores are packed with fast-moving, fully-focused shoppers all bent on finding the one item on the supply list eluding them or, perhaps, some last minute bargain on clothing or supplies. School is back in session!
There is one indicator that, though it actually has no voice, speaks as loudly as the others combined. In fact, if this was the only observable sign, we would be able to correctly deduce that a new school year was getting underway. What is this sign? What is this self-sufficient indicator that approximately 50 million school-age-children are once again expanding their minds through the exercise of learning? If you drive the roads near a neighborhood school, you have seen this indicator. The crosswalks have been re-striped!
Interestingly, this happens every year. I’ve observed this taking place across our nation, too. In the weeks just before school begins the paint crews are everywhere. If all we had was the freshly painted school crosswalks, we would know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, another school year is getting underway.
These crosswalks are crucial to our children’s safety. Their boundaries are intended to protect and provide. They protect children in their journey across dangerous territory as they provide a clearly marked pathway of safety. If these boundaries are respected, children are provided for and protected in their journey toward greater learning.
In a similar way, God supplies us with boundaries for protection and provision. Though we could multiply passages underscoring this reality, a few will suffice. Concerning God’s guidance, David wrote, “He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). Another reference from the Psalms makes it clear that such direction derives from God’s Word. We read the following in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
Ultimately, Jesus is our avenue of protection and provision through the dangerous territory we pass in this life. In John 14:6, the Holy Spirit reports through the Apostle John that the Jesus is “the way.” From Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon we learn this term identifies Jesus as the very highway we must travel to reach the Father in heaven. Jesus Christ is the one through whom we are granted access to the Father. More specifically to the point, this term metaphorically describes Jesus’ life “as a course of conduct; a way of thinking, feeling or deciding” which, when embraced, will lead us to the Father. Because Jesus went to the cross, He provides a crosswalk by which we enter and remain in relationship with God.
When boundaries are not respected, tragedy ensues. Safe passage through danger is thwarted. This is why it is so important for each of us to learn what these markers mean. Just as lines on the pavement speak volumes to drivers and pedestrians, so also should the lines of letters in God’s Word speak to our hearts. Thus, the psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
Sometimes people do not experience safe crossings in life, because others do not respect the boundaries. I recently observed this very thing. A student stepped from the curb, assuming the driver who approached was aware of the crosswalk and preparing to stop. Instead, the car barreled through the crosswalk, horn blazing. The student jerked to a stop and let him pass. A tragedy was narrowly averted. What a great responsibility we have to one another. Respect for God’s Word and the boundaries it contains permits us safe passage through the sin-snares we all encounter; and, provides us with a way of thinking and acting by which we serve and glorify God.
In the end, God’s boundaries are intended to be a blessing to our lives. John’s inspired pen writes, “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). For those who love the Lord, staying within the boundaries He has set—walking in the steps of Jesus—should bring our hearts great joy. Contrary to the world’s philosophy, God’s will is not a heavy burden in our lives. It protects us—provides for us—and, when all is said and done secures for us an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom in which we experience the full scope of God’s blessings!
Remember: In life, school is never out of session. Look for the crosswalks! Stay safe within them—within Him!
© Bill Williams
August 23, 2006