Tow the Line
The concept for this article literally dropped into my heart as I was driving to work one day. I turned off the radio and said “God I need you to speak to me”. When I asked God this question it was actually about something personal and I didn’t think in that moment that an entire article would be complete during a traffic jam. God really does have a sense of mystery.
The term Tow the Line is an idiomatic expression meaning either to conform to a rule or standard, or to stand poised at the starting line in a footrace. I would like to challenge the readers with a thought that our walk with Christ is often poised at the starting line, but not always with momentum.
Straddling the line of the world and Kingdom-living are two very different lifestyles. To straddle the line is to be lukewarm and when reading Revelations 3:16 we see that “because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” These are harsh words that reveal the heart of God as to how much He wants us to live as true witnesses.
Let me give you an example. I completed my second 10 km run approximately three years ago. It took quite a bit of hard work and mental drive to train and convince myself that I had the endurance to complete the race. I trained for several months and gave myself a reasonable goal to beat. What I learned in my training is that finding your gate is key to keeping momentum. In the end, I completed the race exceeding my goal. After my run all I could think about was chugging cold water to quench my insatiable thirst. Lukewarm water would have been vile and would not have brought satisfaction!
To straddle the line between both worlds does not allow us to live for His glory because it reveals God was never first; nor was He last, but He was somewhere in between. In this place of living, God is seen as a source only by personal necessity. This is not a relationship, but religion. To God this brings Him absolutely no satisfaction.
Let me give you another analogy that may resonate more with society today. I was asked not long ago why I have never been to a strip club. My response was with grace: “It’s not something that I would benefit from and it goes against what I believe in morally”. The feedback was one of surprise and that my choice was unusual.
Let me take this a bit further. Let’s say friends of yours, who are non-believers are throwing a Bachelorette Party and the plan is for all the ladies to have a risqué night out. Knowing that morally you have standards to live a life contrary to this, do you decline or do you go? This is what I mean about standards. At what point do you decide for yourself, that your life means more to you based on what you know is true, holy and pleasing to God. It’s a tough line to tow because many would argue: I don’t want to offend my friends, it’s only one time, I won’t pay much attention, I’ll laugh it off, etc. But my argument is simple: how is it beneficial?
Anything beneficial should be favourable or advantageous resulting in good. Thankfull God has entrusted us to make decisions, based on mature living as opposed to childish living. God allows us to use discernment to make choices on a daily basis and even leaves us with instruction. 1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “I have the right to do anything- but not everything is beneficial”. When we ask God for increase in various areas of our lives, we have to be prepared for the tests that will arise. With every ask there is likely a test of character and motive to validate if we can be trusted to enter into the next stage of our life.
Let’s bring this back to the children of God being poised at the starting line without momentum. This may be difficult to accept for many and perhaps even with resistance to my view. The reason we don’t move from the starting line is because we know what God is asking us to do, but we don’t want to disappoint others; therefore, we chose to stay in a place of stagnation. We would rather please man than please God. To the men/women reading this article let me be very clear. Stagnation is a place of permanent delay, inactivity, a trap. The way I see it, to be at the front of the line for God is the greatest honor. We know that those who put Him first will have the crown of righteousness.
To break any misconception that I am being overly religious, super spiritual, or even “holier than thou,” I will admit that I have fallen in the area of standards myself. It doesn’t matter if a standard of living is great or small, God sees it all the same. I have lost friends along the way because I made a conscious decision to remove myself from a life of temptation. I have lost relationships for just the same. We need to be ok with losing what is not beneficial and trust that God will give us a replacement for what was lost, as a means to prosper us. We serve a God who says put me first and “Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man” Proverbs 3:4. Uh, what? Yes! Simple math: God first + Standard living = Favour in all areas.
At the end of the day we need to ask ourselves: Is how I’m living setting me apart from the norm in a beneficial way? We live in a society where pressures to conform are more likely than not. We hear about movements to empower people of all generations, but empower them in what form? Are we empowering them to live as noble citizens?
I think it takes a lot of courage to stand out and say, “well this is my belief and I understand if you don’t feel the same”. Perhaps 1 out of 100 people will look at you in awe and wonder and will appreciate your stance. But the mere fact that you can impact just one is the entire point of the Great Commission. I really need you to catch this revelation because I learned it late in life and I know some will never learn it at all. If you can be an example to just one person during your time here on earth, which we know is temporary, then you’ve achieved the purpose of your life being a Living Testimony.
This hit home for me. As a son/daughter of Christ I hope you grasp the privilege of God calling you an Heir to His throne. To be a representative on earth for God is to walk with the same honor that is given to a monarch or any other distinguished person. Simply put, it means you are one of nobility, elegance, virtuosity and even magnificence. The language God uses to define His children is too easily overlooked. In simple form you need to understand the importance of your life. You were not created to be just an ordinary person. You were not created to fit in to a mold created by humans. You were created with an identity that should not be conformed to anyone or anything. Live a life set apart and you will shine brilliantly in all His glory.