It was getting hard to breathe, but I tore across the grass with blistering speed. I could hear the thuds of feet behind me; the heavy breathing of those pursuing me. I knew that if I stopped they would catch me. I just needed to gain a safe distance and I could get away. Up ahead, I saw my escape… a fence. It was twice my height, like the walls of a prison, but I was agile and quick-witted. I jumped as high as I could and grabbed metal between my fingers. With a burst of effort, I pulled myself to the top. Throwing one leg over to the other side, I stopped and turned to look behind me. My enemies had closed some serious distance! They were just within reach of my foot when I tugged it away and hurled my body over the other side. My plan, of course, was to land gracefully and continue my escape, but the fence had other plans in mind. My shoelace was caught on some twisted wire at the top. Time seemed to slow as the tug on my sneaker changed my trajectory from a jump to a fall. I heard the rip of my shoelace as it pulled free from the holes. I sailed backwards toward the ground and then the world became a blur. The impact of landing on my back forced every bit of breath from my lungs and the back of my head whacked against the dirt. The world spun for a moment until I managed to roll onto my stomach to gasp for air. It was then that I heard the echo of voices from the other side of the fence. Some feet landed in a circle around me... “are you alright?” they asked. I choked and gathered my words until the pain subsided enough to offer an intelligible response. “I think so… just give me a minute.” I guess our game of tag was over.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. If you straddle the fence, be wary of the fall.
Indecisiveness can be a faith killer. When your spirit is split in two it simply cannot thrive. God’s reasons are quite valid for commanding us to be in the world but not of it. You see, the world screams aloud and begs for your attention, but God whispers to your heart in desire of your soul. We are warned against the follies of being double-minded; caught between two worlds; torn between opposing paths. Our heart cannot serve two masters. We must choose a side! When we move closer to the Lord, the devil coaxes us to look back over our shoulders. He knows of pride, arrogance and discontentment. They are easy footholds for him to step in and grab our laces. We throw one foot over the wall to where the Lord awaits, but the enemy whispers… “don’t waste your time climbing; just come down and come back to what feels right; you got to where you are without God, so just stay here; your soul is your own, it doesn't belong to him; you aren’t going to like that side of the fence anyway!” We get caught between faith and doubt, right and wrong, selfless and selfish, eternity and the temporal and the voices of heaven and hell soon begin to blend together. We begin our ascent with good intentions and lofty promises to pursue Christ, but we stop to look back at what we might be leaving behind. It’s a dangerous place to teeter at the top for too long. The devil knows our weaknesses full well and he uses our moments of pause and indecision to snag us in the jump and change it to a fall.
“You people aren’t faithful to God! Don’t you know that if you love the world, you are God’s enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, “God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us”? In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the Scriptures say. God opposes everyone who is proud, but he is kind to everyone who is humble.” Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you.” James 4: 4-7 (CEV)
“But, I’m not indecisive,” you say. “I chose God. I follow Him…” That may be true. It isn't my place to contest it, but...
Have you ever felt God's conviction before making the decision to sin anyway? Have you ever questioned the Lord's truth or presence in your life? Have you ever put your own understanding before His? Have you struggled to maintain a spiritual discipline (prayer, attending church, reading scripture) because other things seemed more important? Welcome to spiritual indecision! Every believer faces it and every believer straddles the line. It's the faithful, however, who strive to focus on the winning side. They know not to linger on the fence for long. The enemy knows what indecision looks like and he will capitalize on it (if you let him) to wreak havoc on your soul. He is always chasing you, always driven to distract you from holy pursuits. In doing so, he knows that he can snag you in your tracks, force you to fall and drag you into self destruction. God, our loving Father, calls your heart to flee and find escape in Him. Both sides have a cost. One will lead to eternity; one will lead to death. One sheds all focus on “self” while the other begs for more and more. Open your eyes in the morning and the spiritual game of tag begins, but choose a side fast or you’re bound to get caught on the fence. Know where you’re running and don’t look back. Spiritual choices have eternal implications.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness… But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24: 14-15 (CEV)
So many decisions to make from day to day. So many questions to ask. So many directions seem right. The world buzzes in our ear like a mosquito at a barbecue. We swat it away, but it always seems to come back. I know it’s hard to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. I know it can be difficult to shake the world and land safely on Christ, so let God break your fall! His hands are big enough to set you firmly on your feet. You don’t have to get caught in the middle. Trade the world for something greater. Too often we dangle our feet on both sides, hoping to get a taste of heaven and a helping of the world. “Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve” and get down from the fence.
“The Lord has said: “These people praise me with their words, but they never really think about me. They worship me by repeating rules made up by humans. So once again I will do things that shock and amaze them, and I will destroy the wisdom of those who claim to know and understand.” You are in for trouble, if you try to hide your plans from the Lord! Or if you think what you do in the dark can’t be seen. You have it all backwards. A clay dish doesn’t say to the potter, “You didn’t make me. You don’t even know how.” Isaiah 29: 13-16 (CEV)
Serve the Lord with your whole heart. Seek the Lord with wonder. Praise the Lord in reverence and pursue Him with integrity. He is the potter. We are His clay. He knows what He’s doing! There's no need to look back. His side is the side to be on.