As a child, I remember spending many hours coloring pictures in coloring books. I took pride in my creations. Today, there are coloring books for all ages – even adults. We never outgrow our desire or ability to create. In Genesis 1 we learn that God created the heavens and the earth. Then in Genesis 2, we read that God made us in His image. We like to create because God creates. I believe there are both natural and spiritual coloring books. God gives us the opportunity to color our lives. Some of us may prefer to color inside the lines while others may want to venture outside the lines of life. Both are artistic expressions.
Scripture draws some lines of life within which we can color. In the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments give us some guidelines. These are found in Exodus 20:2-17. In the New Testament, Jesus condenses these lines to two commandments. Matthew 22:37-39 says, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Scripture also gives us the opportunity to color outside the lines. In Genesis 12:1, the Lord told Abram to leave his country. Abram, later known as Abraham, colored outside the lines. He obeyed God without having any specific lines to follow. In Mark 16:15, Jesus told the disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Going into the world does not define very many lines.
Jabez colored outside the lines. In I Chronicles 4:10 Jabez cried out to God, “Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain. And God granted his request.” God allowed Jabez to color outside the lines and create a bigger picture.
The Bible gives us crayons for our coloring project. Rather than referring to them as crayons, scripture lists nine fruit of the Spirit with which we can color our lives. Galatians 5:22-23 describes our spiritual crayons as, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Colossians 3:12 offers us a few more color options. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
II Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” The lines of life are not drawn with indelible ink. Neither are they printed upon color-by-number pages. The Holy Spirit may even inspire us to color outside our comfort zone. There is no perfect color perspective. However, our best pictures will be designed by the Holy Spirit.
God has given each of us our own coloring book. Every day we pick up crayons and make our mark. Some days we stay inside the lines and do everything perfectly. We color with lovely lavenders, passionate pinks and gracious greens. We may choose to add highlights of glorious golds. Peace will be portrayed in the picture. Other days we may grab a pencil of gray and scribble all over the page defying the designs of the printed page. These pages will reflect frustrating days of turmoil. Philippians 4:13 NLT says, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” That includes creative coloring no matter what color crayon we hold in our hands.
My Reader, grab a few crayons and color a picture in your coloring book of life. Your picture may not be perfect, but that is OK because none of us are perfect. Just continue to color inside and outside the lines of life as the Lord leads. James 1:4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I encourage you to persevere with your coloring project. The day will come when it will be complete.