Drawing the Line - We Need Lines!
Have you ever noticed how many lines are in our worlds? There are lines on the road, lines in the parking lot, lines in fast food restaurants, lines on athletic fields, lines on an airport runway and in fact just about anywhere we go we see lines. Why are the lines there? They are legalistic ways of telling us that we are not free to choose to do things the way the Lord leads us. Now that is silly.
Those lines are there as guides to keep us safe and to maintain order. We would be a bit unnerved if we entered a major highway and the lines were all gone. A parking lot with no lines would be a mess. A football game with no goal line would be pretty ridiculous. Lines are a necessary part of our lives.
Yet have you ever noticed how many Christians like to speak of a Christianity as a life without lines. If someone creates lines they risk being called a legalist. Why? Lines are necessary to protect us and to guide us. We all have them, but we just have them marked a bit differently.
How dare someone draw a line and caution others about books that lead to heresy? After all, don’t we learn from everyone? They put “disclaimers” in the front of their books while banning books from men like J. Frank Norris, Jack Hyles, Tom Malone, Curtis Hutson, Shelton Smith, etc. They compare our drawn lines to Communism’s burning of books. I have yet to see a book burning of their authors in front of an Independent Baptist Church, yet they refuse to let their members or students see a copy of men’s writings who are on their enemies’ list.
A line is drawn with a ten yard chain in a football game and an inch can make the difference between a fourth down and a first down. A line is drawn in a baseball strike zone and an inch can make the difference between a strike and a ball. An inch can make a difference, but of course it all depends on which team you are on as to whether you complain or not.
1. Lines usually have a reason, even if we do not understand it.
2. Lines do not make someone a legalist. That said...
3. Lines do not necessarily make someone a better Christian.
4. Lines help protect our testimony.
5. Lines give us a guide for protection.
6. Lines should be well marked. Unclear lines create confusion.
7. Lines make organizations operate more smoothly. That said...
8. We should honor the lines established in the places where God has put us.
9. Lines may vary slightly or even extensively.
10. Lines should not be used to judge others.
11. We should be thankful not resentful for lines.
12. Some lines are non negotiable. That said...
13. Some lines are more preference that conviction. That is not wrong either.
14. Lines mark a distinction. Without lines we would have no inbounds or out of bounds.
So, you see, lines are a good thing and it is foolish to be critical for maintaining lines in our personal lives, our homes, and our ministries.