I was asked a few weeks back by a friend in my small group if I would be interested in becoming a little league umpire in my spare time. It didn’t take long for me to agree. I’ve been to several training sessions, bought equipment, and watched videos. I have studied the rules for each age division from Dizzy Dean and the various ball parks I’ll be working in. There is a lot to remember and learn!

Last Thursday night our umpiring team worked a scrimmage game for a 10 and under team. After putting on my chest protector and face mask, I got behind the plate. I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to call balls and strikes, but I found out that it was pretty easy. While waiting my next turn to get back behind the plate, I noticed that almost everyone else had a much more “liberal” strike zone than I did.

The rule book has a pretty clear definition of what a strike is . . . across the black of the plate between the batters letters and the lower part of the knee. As I thought about my experience last week, I thought about how people make life choices about money, marriage, sex, raising children, gossip, and a host of other things.

The Bible is pretty clear on how we should live our life. For example, when it comes to marriage God instructs a husband to love his wife just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) and the wife to submit to her husband as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).  Neither of those are very popular in our culture!

When it comes to living together or sex outside of marriage, modern culture says whatever feels right is okay with God. Paul wrote, “But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have his own wife,and each woman should have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). No gray area there.

Another big one in our culture today is that homosexuality is okay with God and gay people should be able to get married. Again, the Bible is pretty clear on this one as well. Romans 1:24-27 reads:

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

I could keep on going. It seems that too many people have a “liberal strike zone.” A baseball batter has the best chance to hit a baseball thrown in the strike zone. Pitchers throw balls hoping a batter will swing at it because the odds are greater that an out will be made.

When you swing at balls or pitches outside the strike zone of God’s Word, you’re missing God’s best. Why swing at those trash pitches from the devil? Choose those in the strike zone! That’s the only way to enjoy life to the fullest.