Monday, July 10, 2017

Staying Within The Lines

Before Venus and Serena Williams became well known, their father was watching TV one day and saw the awards ceremony for a Tennis match. As the story goes, at that moment when he saw how much money tennis players made, he decided that his daughters would play tennis.  And play tennis they did as they have continued to reap the rewards of this sport. It was not an easy choice but a worthwhile choice.

In order to play tennis, you have to know the rules. One of the most important rules of the game is to keep the ball within the lines - keep the ball in. Within the lines, you can hit the ball as hard as you want or as soft as you wish, you can be loud or you can be soft, you can have a beautiful backhand or look clumsy making a shot. It doesn't matter as long as the ball remains within the lines. Of course, there are rules that govern behavior - profane or obscene comments immediately incur a point penalty, as does misconduct or unsportsmanlike behavior such as smashing your racket or threatening a linesperson. A tennis court is 78 feet long and  27 feet wide for singles matches; 36 feet for doubles matches. This court is straight and narrow and yet it is worthwhile to make the effort of staying within the lines. Though there are constraints, which are in place for the effectiveness of the game, there is freedom within the lines.

Staying within the lines is so important that the Hawkeye system was created. If a call is questionable, Hawkeye determines if the ball was in or out and the player has to accept Hawkeye's determination. Hawkeye has the final word.

I have never heard a tennis player say, "I wish I could hit the ball outside the lines or anywhere I want." This would be a pointless statement. Playing the game well by the rules gives each player the potential to reap huge rewards.

As Christians God tells us to stay within the lines with our actions, our words, our thoughts. He says it's worth it. He said, you're not constricted as a matter of fact you're free. And the Holy Spirit as He speaks through the Word is our Hawkeye!

You may be tentative about this Christian life or about becoming a Christian. But if you liken the Christian walk to the game of tennis and choose to play, it will be the most rewarding game you have ever played. If you think being a Christian is boring, look at a tennis player - they are anything but bored. They are playing for a worthwhile reward as is a Christian who reaps rewards here on Earth - peace, power, love, abundance, wisdom, assurance (this is a short list), and for eternity. Ephesians 1:3-12

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:13-14


Are you in the game? Are you willing to make the sacrifices for the rewards of the game?

--Nylse

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7 comments:

  1. I like to call them love-boundaries - God makes life narrow out of love for us, just as we do w/ our kids when they are little and don't know better. So silly when I go outside the lines, thinking it will be best. It never is!

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    1. Sue, I like that, "love-boundaries" and it's the perfect tennis term! Thanks.

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  2. I really enjoyed your post and love the link with playing tennis and living the Christian life. It's definitely better to stay within the lines! Visiting from God-Sized Dreams.

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  3. Great analogy! I have to have some "boundaries" in my diet right now because of some health issues, and I first I thought that it didn't feel like freedom at all. But after a few weeks, it totally does. I have freedom to eat foods that help me feel good and have energy! Having grocery shopping constraints means less choices which actually means less stress! And I love how Scripture says, "the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places"...that always gives me hope.

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  4. Never thought of tennis as compared to our Christian walk but you nailed it! awesome post, a friend from Recharge Wednesday.

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  5. A thoughtful encouraging post for Christ! Thanks sister!

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  6. God's boundaries are always a blessing to our lives and I love how you expressed that in this post. Blessings to you!

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