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Encouragement for Today - Dec. 29, 2008

December 29, 2008


Cutting it Close to the Line

Karen Ehman


When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

James 1:13-15 (NIV)



“Impossible!! How can this be? Why, I’m certain I never crossed the line!”


Out tumbled the words from my disbelieving mouth during a recent trip with my family to nearby Illinois. My husband and I stood staring at the two left wheel wells on our family mini-van that now sat spattered with bright yellow paint. While driving through construction in the Chicago area, it seems I traveled a little too close to the freshly painted yellow line that separates traffic.


While I was keenly aware that the workers had just finished placing the sunny stripes on the pitch-black pavement, I was sure I had driven in a manner that, although closely hugged the lines, had not crossed them. Much to my dismay, when the van’s tires rolled to a halt at a local rest stop, the truth was revealed. Crossed the line? No, I actually hadn’t. There was no paint on the actual tires. However, my getting ever so close was enough to cause the wet paint to stick itself stubbornly to my vehicle’s wheel wells resulting in a nearly neon public display of my too close behavior.


Sometimes we do the same thing with sin. Oh, we make sure we don’t actually cross the line, but we dangle dangerously close to it. We toy with temptation. We wink at seduction. We let bad behavior beckon us.


Perhaps it is with our tongues as we say just enough that it borders on gossip and gets our point across, while still technically remains innocent. Maybe it is fudging a slight bit on our taxes or other financial papers. What about the books we read, the shows we watch or the sites we visit? How about “innocent” but bantering relationships forged with members of the opposite sex. Do we reason and reckon that some of these behaviors aren’t “that bad,” but in reality they come so close to the line that they drag us away from God. And once the dragging starts, we’re hooked. Then we just might find ourselves standing in a very public way with sin spattered all over us.


Instead of asking ourselves how close we can get to the line, perhaps the opposite approach is best. We must remind ourselves just how desperately near we must stay to the Lord Jesus. So near that wandering even slightly away feels foreign, not familiar. Let’s vow together to stick safely by our Savior and a world away from that nasty line of sin.


Dear Lord, Prick my heart when I begin to veer from Your perfect path and wander dangerously close to the line of sin. At those times, may I obey Your commanding voice, however still and small it may be, and rush back safely to Your side. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?


Confession of an Adulterous Christian Woman: Lies that got me there, Truths that brought me back by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz


Pierced by the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper


For more on this topic visit Karen’s blog


Application Steps: 

What practical actions can help me from coming too close to crossing the line of sin in my life?


Is there someone who could be my accountability partner, asking me tough questions about my seemingly secret behavior? What could I have them ask me each week? Could it be about my viewing habits, how I spend my free time or even how I relate to members of the opposite sex?



Is there a time in my life when I wandered so close to the line that it got me into trouble? In retrospect, how could I have handled the temptation differently?


What tempting topics covered in scripture could be beneficial for me to investigate and memorize? You can use Bible Gateway to search for verses by keyword. Then you can cement them in your mind and have them on your lips when you need to draw from your arsenal of scripture to fight temptation.


Power Verses:

I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (NIV) 


Psalm 119:10-11, “With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (AMP)


© 2008 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

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Matthews, NC 28105

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