Line in the Sand

We all need to have a point where we say “enough!”

It’s hard to do it, and some people never reach it. But it’s essential. There needs to be a place of black and white. Not shades of grey.

The World operates in shades of grey. It tells us that a little grey is a good thing. It makes us believe that there’s no consequence for our actions. Little breaks of the rules God puts down (see ten commandments) and it’s ok. Obviously there’s the biggies. But the biggest in Gods eyes are not the ones that get highlighted.

When Jesus spoke with the rich young ruler He told him to give up his riches and follow Christ. Not because finances are inherently evil, but because his focus for worshiping was self and that was not God. He paid lip-service to the commandments, even knew them and acknowledged the most important was to Love God, and the second to love his neighbour, but Jesus challenged him. He made him realise that his focus was his wealth, not his God. Rather that his money was his god.

The man went away saddened, the disciples were baffled. I’ve heard many considerations as to why they were confused. Maybe they owned the boats and were “wealthy” to an extent. Matthew, the tax collector, would have been worth a lot of money potentially. The concept of a benevolent God flies in the face of all our experiences in this World. The thought of losing your life to find it is baffling, and giving up in order to receive is outwardly crazy.

But where is enough?

It’s not the same point for every individual. My line may not be the same as yours. In some areas its more like my line may be a real messy place where yours is differently positioned.

I have a quick temper. Part of my line in the sand is to acknowledge it and (hopefully) be able to make my sand before I’m consumed by anger or reach a point in that anger that I’m in a state of sin. Something that is always difficult for me. I lose my temper with people too fast, and the anger that may start with a genuinely righteous anger against the sin.

I tend to blow up at small things in the grand scheme. I spot the way it should be, and I lash out at it. I attack the people responsible and what begins as a crusade in a redeemed part of my heart is quickly twisted into attacking the sinner instead of the sin. It’s hard for me to establish that line, but it’s my heart’s desire to make that my line in the sand – or part of it.

Much of my line is involved in becoming less centered on myself and more focused on His will in my life. Accepting no compromise of my self or my position. Keeping Christ at the center of my life and not allowing Him to be usurped in my personal battle against the World.

I recently was challenged in a few areas. I’m a diagnosed hoarder – someone who finds it next to impossible to dispose of things. I have collections of various objects, the biggest being African Fish Eagle models. It’s not easy for me to part with these. My wife is less keen on them, and it’s a strain in our marriage. It’s compounded by the fact that I’m also untidy. I have to acknowledge it. Rene is not so untidy as me, and my “system” for keeping things arranged, although it works for me if anything happened to me then it would be near impossible for anyone else to decipher. We’ve even recently considered testing for dyslexia and ADD in my personality to help explain.

But the challenge was the trigger.

In 1985 my younger brother died in a road accident. Although I was untidy even back then, I began to almost literally start to bury myself in things to try to fill the void I found myself in. I was born-again later that year, a testimony I’ll share in full another time, and yet I was unable to shake or even identify this stronghold at the time. Some of my relationships have suffered enormously as a result. It’s been almost 30 years and I need to find a way to deal with this problem so the relationships can be restored – even so far after the trigger was pulled. It’s hard, but it’s become an aspect of my line in the sand. Oddly enough, there’s never been any animosity towards the driver or response time of the ambulances to the scene or the doctors who couldn’t save him. It’s not the same for family and friends whose relationships with me have been strained to breaking point – continuously. I distanced myself from them emotionally and physically, first moving to a remote town several hundred miles from any of them, then to another continent. All the time building things up between us. I would tell select members of a passion and they would feed my need to physically fill the void by supplying me with the very things I sought as a gesture of love, but not realising that it was those very actions that then drove me further from them.

It’s only been a few days since this epiphany, so it’s early to be writing about how it’s affecting me, but the effect is already changing me. Rene and I are moving home to live with my mum for a while, and there are space issues with regard to the things I hold onto. I have to et them go, but there is an actual physical pin at the thought of disposing of these things that do nothing but tie me down and render me helpless and damage my ability to do everything God would want me to do. We’re considering moving overseas again, options being the UK or Canada (among others but they are our primary options) and “impractical” doesn’t begin to describe the concept of moving with the assorted collections intact.

But that means I need the line.

So far and no further.

And it means beating the enemy back to where that line should be, not where I currently am. I’m a long way from that point, but I’m moving in the right direction.

So a challenge today from me to you, dear readers (bot of you). What’s your line? Pride? Vanity? Self-Centered attitudes?

Moses asked Pharaoh in Exodus about the removal of the plague of frogs. When should the plague be removed. Pharaoh? Pharaoh’s answer? “Tomorrow”. Why not “NOW!!” Pride perhaps, but also maybe a level of comfort with the problem. We get comfortable and lose sight of where our line should be. And like Pharaoh when God says “when”, we respond “just a little longer”.

When shall I heal you? When can I give you the finances you need? When, When, When?

And we are past our line already, so we say “Later”.

Let’s make the change today and see a real, tangible difference in the way our lives run immediately.

And let’s fight with all we have to push the enemy who would destroy us if we let him ack under our feet where Jesus’s sacrifice put him.

Let’s say “No more” to ___________________________ – You fill in the blank, you know what it is.

Draw the line and don’t compromise. No. Matter. What.

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