You can’t play by your own rules and still play on the team. You can’t be on your own page and still be trusted by the administration to lead the program. You can’t do whatever you want and still be given advancing responsibility.

That really goes without saying, but maybe we need to hear it again.

Those who play by their own rules, remain on their own pages, do whatever they want…eventually the uniform it taken away, the program looks for another coach, the leadership goes a different direction.

Proverbs 21:16 points to this and something far more important than baseball—“A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.”

It means what it says. Those who leave the path laid out by God’s word (that of understanding) don’t find life. They find death. The consequences might not be immediate, but they will be ultimate.

Just like the coach who has a standard for the players on his team, God has a standard for those in his kingdom.

Just like the principal, athletic director, or general manager has expectations for the baseball coach, God has expectations for those who want eternal life.

God’s standard is perfection. Anything short of that deserves death (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

God’s expectation is complete obedience. Anything short of that just isn’t good enough.

How, then, can we receive life instead of death, since none of us are perfect and none have obeyed God completely?

His name is Jesus, our substitute in life, death, and resurrection. He alone is perfect. He alone obeyed the Father completely. He alone, then, can stand in on our behalf before the Father. And he did just that.

Wandered from God’s path? Place your hope in the vicarious life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and you will find life everlasting.

Lord Jesus, I’m a wanderer, so I surrender to you, the one who was perfect. Amen.