February 05, 2011
Dead End Road
Dead End RS
Luke 9:23-27 (The Message translation) 23-27Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”

Last weekend, we continued our series, “Best Question Ever: What’s the Wise Thing to do?” – with the title, “It’s All Good…until It’s Not,” and the focus on morality.  We’ve all made moral decisions that we now regret (at least I have)…most of which are a result of crossing that invisible line between a good decision and a bad decision. Leading up to that regret, it seems as if we’ve made a series of bad decisions…and we’ll rationalize those decisions along the way. How often have I said to myself, “there’s nothing wrong with what I’m doing.” But, have we stopped to ask ourselves, “is this the wisest thing to do.”

Given any circumstance, we all want to know where the “line” is and we’ll typically behave in a way that pushes right up against that line. For example, if the speed limit is set at 75, we’re not going to drive 65 miles an hour to play it safe. Better yet, remember when you had a curfew? I can vividly remember being told that I must be home by midnight. Let me tell ya, I made sure to leave wherever I was on those nights with just enough time so that I could be pulling into my driveway right at midnight…not a minute sooner. I knew where the line was…and though I didn’t want to cross it, I certainly wasn’t going to allow any extra time. 

In some cases, there are no true consequences if we go over the line: if I didn’t meet curfew by a couple of minutes, I got a dirty look (of course, I was a kid that hated to disappoint so this almost never happened…my mom is laughing right now). However, in other cases, when you cross the line…you end up paying for it for the rest of your life (I don’t think I need to provide examples…you know what I’m talking about here, especially if you are still living those consequences).

In Luke 9:23-27, the Message’s translation really spoke to me. Last week, I wrote about the “fool.” If we continue to live our lives as if we’re in the drivers seat, we’ll always experience pain – self help is NO HELP at all! Self help is like going down a “Dead End Road.” However, if we allow God to lead the way…and allow ourselves to experience self sacrifice, we will find our true selves.

So, how do we get to this point…a suggestion: set standards for your life.
  • Determine what shows you will watch or not watch.
  • Determine places you feel comfortable going or not going.
  • Identify people you will spend your time with or not.
  • Recognize actions and behaviors that you are comfortable with and those that cross the line.
I do know that if we do not set standards for our own lives, someone else will. However, if you set standards and stick to those standards…you will never have regrets. Don’t be afraid to be a little extreme either. Why not be extreme now instead of finding yourself in a place where you wish you’d been extreme sooner…where you wish you’d set higher standards for yourself an the people you love?

With that said, I think it’s up to each of us to establish our own set of standards… to draw our own “lines.” I make it a point in my life not to judge others by the standards that I keep for myself (I would say the same thing as it relates to family dynamics…the dynamics between couples, etc). I believe we’ve all been given the ability to make choices…and my choices will not always be your choices, but they are choices I can live with.

(linking up with Scripture and a Snapshot, and Simplicity: vintage)
By the way, I’ll be over at Muse University today re-sharing my tutorial on “Creating the Fairy Garden Effect“. If you haven’t seen this tutorial before (I’ve posted it to my blog as well as Paper Heart Camera), go over and check it out…pretty cool! Have a great Saturday.