The indicators are everywhere. You can’t miss them. Crossing guards are in place. Yellow busses with flashing strobe lights mounted on top are everywhere. The back to school sections at most stores have been picked clean. Only a few shoppers looking for last-minute bargains enter the stores. School is back in session!
One indicator speaks as loudly as the others combined, though it has no voice. In fact, if this was the only observable sign, we would correctly deduce a new school year was getting underway. What is this sign? What is this self-sufficient indicator that about 50 million school-age-children are once again expanding their minds through the exercise of learning? If you drive the roads near a neighborhood school, you have seen this indicator. The crosswalks are freshly painted!
Interestingly, this happens every year. I’ve observed this taking place across our nation, too. In the weeks just before school begins the paint crews are everywhere. The freshly painted school crosswalks alone are sufficient evidence that another school year is getting underway.
These crosswalks are crucial to our children’s safety. Their boundaries are intended to protect and provide. They protect children in their journey across dangerous territory as they provide a clearly marked pathway of safety. If these boundaries are respected, children are provided for and protected in their journey toward greater learning.
Ultimately, Jesus is our avenue of protection and provision through the dangerous territory we pass in this life. In John 14:6, the Holy Spirit reports through the Apostle John that Jesus is “the way.” Scholars tell us this term identifies Jesus as the very highway we must travel to reach the Father. Jesus Christ is the one through whom we are granted access to the Father. More to the point, this term metaphorically describes Jesus’ life “as a course of conduct; a way of thinking, feeling or deciding” which, when embraced, will lead us to the Father.
Jesus alone provides a protected path to enter and remain in relationship with God.
When boundaries are not respected, tragedy ensues. Safe passage through danger is thwarted. This is why it is so important for each of us to be reminded where safety lies. Just as lines on the pavement speak volumes to drivers and pedestrians, so also should the life and teaching of Christ speak to our hearts. As the Holy Spirit instructs us in Colossians 2:6-7, “…now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (NLT)
People do not always experience safe crossings in life, because others do not respect the boundaries. I recently observed this very thing. A student stepped from the curb, assuming the driver who approached was aware of the crosswalk and preparing to stop. Instead, the car barreled through the crosswalk, horn blazing. The student jerked to a stop and let him pass. Tragedy was narrowly averted.
Thus, the instruction cited above continues with a strong word of warning in verse 8-10. Here we read: “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” (NLT)
What a great responsibility we have to one another. Sometimes we need to help others find the Crosswalk. Also, since there is so much philosophical nonsense being promoted today, we all need to be reminded to stay in the Crosswalk. In the end, following Jesus is intended to be a blessing to our lives, getting us safely to the other side.
Walking in the steps of Jesus should bring our hearts great joy. Contrary to the world’s philosophy, this is not a heavy burden in our lives. It protects us—provides for us—and, when all is said and done, secures for us an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom in which we experience the full scope of God’s blessings!
Remember: In life, school is never out of session. Look for the crosswalks! Stay safe within them—within Him!
© Bill Williams
September 17, 2016