Are you able to hold the line on needs versus wants with your personal finances? How about between right and wrong in your business dealings? Is the line clearer or fuzzier when it comes to Scripture versus culture in your choice of church, or choice of school for your children? Do you hold the line when discussing sensitive topics of conversation with friends?
There have always been lines one must consider holding or crossing in life. Whether incurred when entering into a relationship, accepting a job offer or joining a church, a decision has to be made. Today, many folks, including men and women in the military must consider a line requiring a certain vaccination status. And some teachers confront a line involving curriculum they disagree with. Holding the line can be challenging when livelihoods are in the balance.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. … Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. – Romans 12:9-10, 13:7. What a challenging set of passages! It was out of love and honor that Joshua told his fellow Israelites to choose this day whom they shall serve. “But for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). It was out of respect and honor that Daniel accepted a new name and education in Babylon. But he decided to hold the line on his diet, to not defile himself with the royal food and wine (Daniel 1:5). And when facing a challenge from the Pharisees, it was in sincere love that Jesus told the adulteress, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”– John 8:11. Joshua, Daniel and Jesus provide three powerful examples of holding the line while exhibiting no hate for the individuals encountered or demonization for decisions made. Rather, there was devotion in love, honor and respect.
In a recent speaking engagement around his book, Brave by Faith, Allistair Begg referenced homosexuality as an example of where the current culture suggests we must either affirm or hate the individual. He said, “As Christians, we can do neither. We cannot affirm a lifestyle outside God’s design for mankind. And we certainly cannot hate the individual. We are instructed to love, honor and respect one another.” In the book, he goes on to write that lines have to be carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully drawn. So, know your lines. And know the God who will give you all you need in the situation He has put you into, to enable you to stand firm for Him.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and the challenge to hold the line under Your word. I confess a degree of passivity and complacency in my life that has not glorified You. Forgive me. Help me follow Your example, to meet people where they are and encourage them in a relationship with You. Grant me strength to love and respect others without compromising Your word, to hold the line and lead spiritually by example. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father holds the line as he leads spiritually by example.