“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 NAS

I was five years old and playing my first team sport, tee ball. The twenty year old coach, whom I thought was old, marked an “X” on the ground where he wanted me to stand. I was prone to run to any part of the field in order to retrieve the baseball. His intention was to give me some smaller area to manage; in this case it was second base. But you see, I tend to be a rule follower if the rule is clearly stated to me. The next play was a grounder within three feet of where I was standing but in order to catch the ball I would have had to move off the “X.” I simply stood and watched the ball go to the outfield. Everyone laughed because they knew that my coach had told me to “stand right there” and that is exactly what I did.

      Sometimes in our zeal to please the Father and perhaps because we think it will put us in better standing, we try to follow all the rules. Of course many times the rules we are trying to follow are things that we have made up or that others have made up for us. Following Jesus is not difficult… it is impossible. He gives us the gift of life because He knows that we are not able to follow all of the necessary rules.

      My bent on following exactly what the coach had told me meant that I missed the purpose of the game in general. The game for me became standing on the “X”, not baseball, so I was not able to help in the team effort of winning. Have you become so focused on the way you follow Jesus that you are missing the bigger picture? Jesus wants you to first and foremost see Him.

      I never did become a very good baseball player but I finally learned the lesson of teamwork and seeing the big picture. I trust that you are discovering the bigger picture of following God. I hope you are experiencing the joy of being on His team. It has nothing to do with you but everything to do with Him. Enjoy the journey.

QUESTION: Do I like rules or relationships better? Am I looking for an “X marks the spot” approach to Christianity? How will I seek to improve my relationship with Jesus this week?