One of my dearest friends shared a story about her 6-year-old granddaughter. They were coloring together. Her grand daughter looked up and said, “MaeMae, try to stay within the lines. But that’s okay if you can’t.” My friend shared that her mom is trying to work with her on perfectionism. Boy, can I relate. There have been so many times that I have tried so hard to stay within the lines in my own life, realizing that I was failing epicly.
As a Christ follower, wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could just follow a specific list of rules each day. You know, check the boxes as we go, stay within the lines, and win our way right into heaven. The delusion that we could accomplish this perfectly is the biggest indicator of our need for a Savior. The bottom line is that Jesus doesn’t need for us to color within the lines perfectly, nor does he need us to live perfect lives. He simply needs us to recognize His sacrifice for us as a perfect Savior and put our lives in His perfect hands. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NIV
This precious 6-year-old’s statement wraps up grace perfectly. We can try; but, when (not if) we fail, it’s okay because we have a perfect Savior who loves us and gives us His grace, hope, joy, and forgiveness.
It also occurred to me that the wisdom imparted from these little lips didn’t tell her MaeMae to stop trying. No, in fact, she encouraged her to try to color within the lines with the security of knowing that it would be okay if she was not able to do so. And we should do exactly the same! We should get up every day with the focus and desire to serve our Lord obediently and to turn away from sin; to let Him guide our steps; and to love Him with all our heart, soul, and minds; and to extend that love to those around us. “Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 NIV
We should give God thanks every day for His sacrifice and for His blessings in our lives. As Christ followers, we should be in constant prayer and try to serve Him with our thoughts, words, and deeds. Why? Because that is exactly the example that was set when His Son Jesus spent time on earth. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV Did you catch it? Our very ability to try is found in Christ Jesus.
Oh yes, grab those crayons and try to color within the lines. But, let’s not linger there. Let’s put our final assurance in Christ. I say to you earnestly that He makes everything okay, indeed!