Bowling With Christ – Pin #3: Bumpers Are Boundaries
Welcome to April! Spring is here, the weather is rainy, gloomy, and inconsistent. Flowers are blooming. The grass is turning green. The sun is setting later and rising earlier. Now, if it would only get a little warmer! Speaking of April, did you all make it through April Fool’s Day?! Or did you get pranked?
Setting that aside, today we continue our adventure of “Bowling with Christ.” Do you remember what we talked about last week? That’s right! We talked about the lane. Matthew 7:14 says that it is the narrow way that leads to life. Isaiah 35:8 states, “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way.” And King Solomon, a man of 3,000 plus proverbs of wisdom, wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). In order to remain on the straight and narrow path towards the pins, we must remember to pray, to read scripture, to do and say what Jesus would do and say, and to trust Jesus with our whole heart as we come to love him more each and every day.
This week, we look at my favorite thing about bowling…THE BUMPERS!!! The bumpers in bowling help us to not get our ball in the gutter, and they help keep our bowling ball in the lane so that we can knock down all ten pins. But, what do the bumpers teach us about God? God has set up bumpers, guards, stages of protection, to keep His children moving safely down the narrow path. What do these bumpers consist of?
First and foremost, a bumper is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and lets us know when our thoughts or actions are not pleasing to God. God chastens those He loves. Listening to His correction and submitting to His will for our lives is like a gentle bump back to where we need to be on His lane. When the bowling ball goes off to one side, just like God, those bumpers place us back on the narrow and straight path.
Second, like 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, we must “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” This is actually where the thought for this analogy came from. I felt like I was continually catching myself out of bounds with my thoughts and having to reign them back in. At times, we can have the tendency to “overcorrect.” Having trouble with feeling worthless? Be careful, or you will overcorrect to pride. We go from one bumper to the other, ever trying to hit that perfect sweet spot in the center.
Third, we must be always trying to conform ourselves to what we see in the Bible. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. When we catch ourselves acting in a way that is contrary to what the scripture says, hitting the bumpers, we need to stop what we are doing and repent–ask for forgiveness. That just means we need to turn around and go the other way. In 1 John 5:17, we learn that “all unrighteousness is sin.” We must try to behave the way the Bible commands. We must stay away from the behaviors that grieve the Lord or make the Lord sad.
So, the bumpers in our life, just like the bumpers on the bowling alley, help us to bounce back toward Christ, and they help us to refocus and to center ourselves on the path forward. The bumpers are there to keep us out of trouble so that we can knock all ten pins down. The next time you find yourself going toward a bumper, remember the Holy Spirit is there to push you back towards the center; but we must be willing to try our best to stay in the middle of the lane where Jesus’ love is the greatest.
Your Friend, Holy Spirit
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