How We’re Learning

By Kori Yates


Freedom with boundaries

In first grade, coloring was important. It was a developmental skill that was necessary for many reasons, but for me it was one of my favorite parts of school, coloring and recess. I felt like coloring was one of those skills I possessed – till I met this one other boy in my class.

Truly, I could color a lovely picture, but he was phenomenal. He would color really dark which made the colors stand out brilliantly, covering every white spot on the picture. Once he did all the colors, he would go back with a black crayon and color all the lines in a thick, dark black.

I remember being amazed at his coloring. My picture looked nice, but his was awesome. Coloring in the lines carried a whole different meaning after looking at his pictures.

Crazy as it is, I learned some God-lessons from that memory. First, in life, God draws the lines and gives me a chance to do the coloring. Second, simply staying in the lines (following accepted morals) is not enough. Third, the beautiful lines and strong colors mean the world sees Jesus in me more.

Bottom line: the lines are good.

As Christians, we have been set free, but that doesn’t mean it’s a “free for all.” He sets boundaries to that freedom both for our good and for His glory. As Peter points out, our freedom is not a covering for evil but an opportunity to “silence the ignorance of foolish men.” There is an expectation to stay in the lines and to do it well, not to blur the lines or color so lightly that no one can even tell if we colored at all.

For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. (1 Peter 2:15-16)

Coloring well does not always come easily, but truly we serve a God of grace. I really do want to only do what He has called me to, no more and no less. And I want to do it well.

Those light colors? We can go back over them again and again and make them brilliant hues. We can make the lines clearer should we need to. I think too that some of that crayon is erasable and God’s grace truly covers those places I’ve stepped out.

I long to color well, though, to finish life with a brilliantly colored pictured of Him.

How to Color Well:

  1. Love – Jesus has to be more important than anything else. Remembering what He has done both in our personal lives and throughout history will bring us to a place of gratitude and love where we cannot help but want to color.
  2. Compare – As women we tend to play the comparison game a lot. Our lives should be compared only to the standard of righteousness, not to anything of the world. It’s not my picture against yours, it’s mine against Jesus’s. Thankfully, we serve a God of grace and mercy, but our desire should be to color well.
  3. Embrace – Embrace the lines, my friends. Whether free spirit or square, our pictures turn out best when we follow His plan.
  4. Encourage – We all have a picture God has designed us to color, one that shows the world who He is. Encourage others to color well.

Your Turn:

This week, feel free to color. Recognize God’s boundaries as blessings. What has He asked of you and what has He said no to? Some areas are definitive for all of us, but we all have different callings on our lives. Color yours well.

If you’re unsure, just ask. He is faithful and will show you areas where you might have stepped out a bit or areas you need to cover with color. Follow Him.

Our lives are meant to be a beautiful picture of Him. This week I am praying He does that in us as we are obedient to Him.


Lord, I long for my life to be a beautiful picture of who You are. Help me to go when You say go and stop when You say stop. Help me to be obedient to You and in turn use my life to draw others to You. 

Verses to Ponder:

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. (Psalm 16:5-9)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:1-4)

Additional Resources:

The Best Yes (A great book by Lysa TerKeurst) (Blog post by Britany Bergman)