"on the fence": If you're on the fence, you can't decide something. You're torn between two options. If you’re standing at the ice cream counter, not sure if you should get chocolate or vanilla, you’re on the fence. Being on the fence means you really just can’t decide. It’s as if you’re sitting on the fence because you can’t decide which yard to play in. If you can't decide whether to take a job or not, you're on the fence. If you don't know which basketball team to root for, you're on the fence. This word is all about indecision. When you make a choice or commitment, you’re no longer on the fence." (Vocabulary.com definition)
I recently watched one of my all time favorite movies, Walk the Line. One of the most prominent scenes, hence the name of the movie, is when June yells out to Johnny Cash, "You can't walk no line, John!"
The phrase strikes me because it's kind of similar to what God says to us; that we aren't going to be living our best lives if we're walking the line between a heavenly life and a worldly one. In other words, we can't be on the fence about our commitment to Him, with one foot in and one foot out, and also experience our best lives.
The most pressing question we can ever ask ourselves is if we want to be in a relationship with God and invite Him to rule over our hearts through belief in Christ. I can say I’ve made that choice and I’ll never regret it. Even if we are sealed with His grace, we still make choices everyday to either submit to God or to turn the other direction towards our own will and way. Though it seems I am being refined year to year, thanks to God's grace and relentless pursuit, there are still those "rooms" in the house of my spirit where I'm hesitant to give up control. I'm reluctant to make the commitment that I'm done hemming and hawing about who I'm going to let take the reigns over certain areas of my life. Many times this even happens unintentionally. At the root of every decision lies the question: To submit to God or not?
We can straddle the fence in so many ways, living one foot in and one foot out, or we can decide we are going to commit to God's way once and for all- and ask Him to help us get better at our shortcomings. We won't be perfect once and for all, but we can make progress. We can be sanctified.
"Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands you sinner and purify your hearts you double minded...Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up." -James 4:8
I am currently reading a study on James (James:Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore). In the author's words: "We can’t have one foot on God’s side of the center and the other foot on Satan's without getting zipped like a zipper right up the middle. That’s why James says 'Purify your hearts, double-minded people!' In other words, make up your mind and your motive and set your whole heart where you want it. You cannot have it both ways!”
If we are in Christ we will never be Satan's, but he can still influence us. Put your whole self on God’s side of the fence. Submit to God! The Greek word for "submit" means "put in order under". If we’re under God's will and standing in His territory, we’re in order. Identify some struggles you have right now. Realize Satan and God have two different ideas of what you should do about it. What side of the fence will you choose to walk towards? "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and __________. Matthew 6:24. (Verse, emphasize added).
"Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do." James 1:8 The beautiful part in all of this is that God not only asks us to be in a forever relationship with Him as His bride, but He asks us to be His friend (John 15:13-16). Friendship means closeness. And the closer you get to Jesus, the farther you should be running away from that fence. Our closeness with God is measured by our fruit (Matthew 7:15-17). Producing Godly fruit is one of the most joyous gifts we receive by being on the right side of the fence!
This commitment to be on God's side doesn't mean we will ever achieve perfection and a mess-free, mistake-free life. We won't be completely free from "the fence of sinful choices" until we are in Heaven. But we do have a choice to make the decision once and for all that we want to live as far away from it as we can. And we have to keep on choosing that as often as we can.
Are you living on the fence, or are you living every day setting your foundation on the rock of Christ? The good news is, He gives us greater grace. Our hearts are always welcome at the foot of the cross- when we die to ourselves and say not my will God, but Yours be done. We can say to Him today: "God, I'm done walking the line. Help me to walk in the shadow of your wing and in the will of your intentions. Help me to found my life on your side of the fence- on your rock. Show me the steps I can to take towards You. Amen"
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”-Matthew 7:24-27
"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers."-Psalm 1:1-3