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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.24 I Walk The Line???

 

For many of us this conjures up recollections of an old Johnny Cash song, but that really isn’t my focus for today. Instead, I would like us to think about parents/adults and the affect that we have on the young ones who are watching and following us. While the Johnny Cash song said, “Because you’re mine, I walk the line!” as believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, we can (and should) “walk the line because we are HIS”! And our lives should make a difference in the lives of others whom God has placed in our path.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,

be sober,

and hope to the end

for the grace that is to be brought

unto you

at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children,

not fashioning yourselves

according to the former lusts

in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy,

so be ye holy

in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written,

Be ye holy;

for I am holy.

17 And if ye call on the Father,

who without respect of persons

judgeth according to every man’s work,

pass the time of your sojourning here

in fear:

18 Forasmuch as ye know

that ye were not redeemed

with corruptible things,

as silver and gold,

from your vain conversation

received by tradition

from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ,

as of a lamb

without blemish

and without spot:” 1 Peter 1:13-19

Peter reminds us that we ought to live our lives “As obedient children” living with regard to the price that Jesus Christ paid for us, rather than being dragged back into the lusts and darkness of the flesh and the world. We are called to remember the price that Jesus paid for our salvation, and pursue His holiness. And we can only do that when we think with the ‘mind of Christ’.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 (Read 1-11 for more insight.)

And that “mind” of Christ, is a mind set on God, service and sacrifice. Instead we live in a world that continually drives us to pursue a mindset of self, demand to be served, and to consume all we can get on ourselves—two diametrically opposed ideologies. Which mindset are we embracing and pursuing? Do we have a heart and mind set on God, His Word and His ways, or one set on everything opposed to the One we call Lord, Savior and King? He calls to be ‘sober’, and that’s not strictly a reference to our use of alcoholic drinks, but to a right-mindedness that isn’t controlled by the flesh, but by the Spirit of God. Just as Paul talks to the Ephesian Christians about:

See then that ye walk circumspectly,

not as fools,

but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time,

because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise,

but understanding

what the will of the Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine,

wherein is excess;

but be filled with the Spirit;” Ephesians 5:15-18

It’s more than coincidental, that the word for “filled” here is a word that means “pervaded by”. And pervaded doesn’t mean just a simple filling, but “to become spread throughout all parts of”; to “be controlled by”. That means we are not to be controlled by outside elements of any kind, but by the Holy Spirit of God. And that is the only way that we can ever “be ye holy”. Yet as we examine the rest of that verse, it is not just an abstract “ideal” of holiness or a ‘denomination’ but a life lived holy “in all manner of conversation”; meaning our lifestyle as well as our words! We are to live a life of holiness before God and man. Just as our Lord and Savior did when He lived in a body of flesh.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:52

While we all know that Jesus lived the perfect life, and we can’t; we can walk in the power of His Spirit and “Be ye holy; for I am holy”! It is the “New Covenant”– the indwelling Holy Spirit, the promise and hope of glory.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1:27

This is how and why we can “walk the line”, God’s line! Not because we are some cutesy little ‘Goody Two-Shoes’, but because we are God’s redeemed:

not redeemed

with corruptible things,

as silver and gold,

from your vain conversation

received by tradition

from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ

We can “walk the line” because we have been ‘redeemed… with the precious blood of Christ”. Jesus came to save us from our sin—not punch our ticket to heaven and leave us in our sin.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Did you get that, Jesus came to save us “from” our sin, not “IN” our sin, and we can only be “HIS” when we are saved, born again by His saving, atoning sacrifice for Sin. When we are born again by the Spirit of God, we are transformed and empowered to live a life pleasing to our Lord and King rather than a life of sin and self.

Therefore if any man be in Christ,

he is a new creature:

old things are passed away;

behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

But as many as received him,

to them gave he power

to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born,

not of blood,

nor of the will of the flesh,

nor of the will of man,

but of God.” John 1:12-13

Being born of God, we get a new heart, and the power to live an abundant victorious life over sin. We are saved immediately from the penalty of sin, we are ‘being’ saved (day by day as we grow in The Word, in the grace and knowledge of our Lord) from the power of sin in our lives, and when our Lord calls us (Either by His return or our leaving this world in death.) we will be delivered from the very presence of sin for all eternity! When we walk in the Spirit, we can overcome the flesh and sin. But it’s a battle that we will constantly wage in this life (See Ephesians 6:9-18). Yet we must learn to recognize the dangers of the lust of the flesh. Satan wants to keep the lost on their road to hell, and the saved from being any kind of witness and influence for Jesus, and he uses sin to disable our witness any way he can. We must pay attention to that “line”!

That is why it’s so important to avoid sin, and not try to walk as close to it as we think we can without falling off the cliff. God calls us to keep our distance and avoid sin, not cozy up to it and play footsy with it.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.”     1 Thessalonians 5:22

We have been so deceived by the enemy and have fallen for the lies that he espouses, that he is causing many to compromise their holiness and loose heart. We must separate ourselves from the world and the lusts of the flesh, and Jude warns about the danger of the flesh and its pull upon us. We can keep ourselves separate from the world.

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion,

making a difference:

23 And others save with fear,

pulling them out of the fire;

hating even the garment

spotted by the flesh.” Jude 1:21-23

The flesh and sin are problems and we need to stop thinking a little won’t hurt us. Sin destroys and ruins lives—and we, as God’s children, as parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, must be ready and willing to sacrifice ‘self’ for the perfect will of our Lord, His Gospel and His glory.

As we examine our lives, we must ask God to help us see where we really are. We must pursue the mind of Christ, and diligently seek to walk in holiness and purity before God and the world. We can never live a life of compromise and expect God to bless it. God clearly tells us how to ‘walk the line’ before those who are following us—whether they be children or adults who need to see Jesus. As I’ve often heard, “You may be the only Bible that some people read!”

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God

with all thine heart,

and with all thy soul,

and with all thy might.

6 And these words, which I command thee this day,

shall be in thine heart:

7 And thou shalt teach them diligently

unto thy children,

and shalt talk of them

when thou sittest in thine house,

and when thou walkest by the way,

and when thou liest down,

and when thou risest up.

8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign

upon thine hand,

and they shall be as frontlets

between thine eyes.

9 And thou shalt write them

upon the posts of thy house,

and on thy gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9

This is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture—the order and flow is notable—we can only pass on and teach what we possess and practice. God told Moses that first of all we ourselves must:

love the LORD thy God

with all thine heart,

and with all thy soul,

and with all thy might.

Part of the problem today is that we seem to be living the old adage: “Do what I say, not what I Do!” This practice will never render a very positive outcome. A more relevant adage that I believe to reveal more truth is: “What the parents do (and approve of) in moderation, the children will do to excess!” What are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them things by our life choices that we would rather they didn’t learn? Then we must make a change! We must recognize the urgency of walking God’s line! And God says that if we will walk His way, love Him devotedly and take advantage of every “teachable” moment to point our children to Him, it will bear fruit! He goes on in this passage to reveal the method to us. If we’ll teach and live truth before our children a time will come when they will question what we are doing and why? And that’s a good thing. God tells us why and what to do next!

And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?

21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:

22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, …… And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day” Portions of Deuteronomy 6:20-24

God tells us that if we will live/walk our talk, and talk about why we live that way, there will come a time when our children will ask us “Why?” And when that time comes we are to share with our children our own personal testimony of God’s grace, salvation and provision in our lives, and why we love Him and serve Him. And then we can lead them to the cross. Oh, that we could live this way before our families and the world! It’s our only hope and theirs!

We are loosing the battle for the hearts and minds of our children, mostly because we have abdicated our responsibility to others—especially Hollywood (more like Hellywood) and the liberal media that pervades our culture. We must stand up and resist the “gates of Hell”! When the church (the people not the building) goes forward in the power of God, great and mighty things can happen. But we must “walk the line” with Jesus, not skirt the outside edge of worldliness. My heart aches for the blindness of many of those who claim the name of Jesus our Lord. We have to live what we claim—NOW! And we can only do that through the power of The Holy Spirit!!!

But ye are not in the flesh,

but in the Spirit,

if so be that the Spirit of God

dwell in you.

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,

he is none of his.

10 And if Christ be in you,

the body is dead because of sin;

but the Spirit is life

because of righteousness.”     Romans 8:9-10

All by the power of HIS Spirit:

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,

as though God did beseech you

by us:

we pray you in Christ’s stead,

be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him

to be sin for us,

who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness

of God

in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Only as we walk “His” line, in His power, and His Spirit.

This I say then,

Walk in the Spirit,

and ye shall not fulfil the lust

of the flesh……..

24 And they that are Christ’s

have crucified the flesh

with the affections

and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit.”     Galatians 5:16 & 24-25

So as we finish up another session together, I simply ask each of us to examine ourselves. What line are you walking? Are you walking God’s line or the world’s? It’s your choice, but choose wisely, there is a test? And remember—somebody may be watching you!