Falling Off Fences
The year was 1986. I sat on the concrete floor of a classroom in Hong Kong where a group of students had gathered for a Bible study. As if it were some ancient Chinese proverb, the passionate speaker energetically etched these words into my heart for good: “He who walks on fence gets shot two times.”
He was expounding on the challenging words of Jesus, “He who is not with me is against Me. He who does not gather, scatters.” (Matt. 12:30) John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible put it like this, “We are all either a loyal subject, or a rebel. There is none who neither promote nor obstruct His kingdom.”
You may be thinking, “Yeah, but, can’t I kinda be with Jesus? Can I kinda follow Him? Can’t I read His Facebook wall, “comment” on His commands, and “like” his quotes? Is it possible to simply, “add” Him as a friend? The softening of the Gospel message into a more placid, kinder and gentler Jesus has robbed us of it’s power and confused some to think that you can follow Jesus without really trying…or even trusting, for that matter. It reduces powerful life changing truth to a notion: a vague idea, an impression, or simply an opinion. “On the fence” is not the life for anyone.
Being on a fence is like walking on a balance beam…physically and spiritually. As the Olympics approach, we’ll get more than our share of athletes capable of traversing a four inch beam, complete with front flips, backflips and the all important dismount. (My friend, Gravity, and I are quite good at the dismount, or as I like to call it…falling.) But when it comes to spiritual fences, the early disciples were never given the option to both follow Him, and follow the things of this world at the same time. Uncomfortable? Yep. Unpopular? You bet. But rewarding? Beyond what you could ever imagine! I came that you might have life, and life abundant. (John 10:10) Choose this day whom you will serve.
Jesus, the Master of asking thought-provoking questions, while walking with his disciples once said, “So what about you? Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)Two questions back to back. I don’t think I would have raised my hand at that point shouting, “Ooo, I know, call me!” Just the first question, “So what about you?”, would have had me wiping away perspiration.
But Jesus’ question gets to the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is always a matter of the heart. “So what about you? Who do you say that I am?” Peter, never afraid to raise his hand, and never one to walk on fences, said, “You are the Christ. The Messiah.” Though “just a fisherman”, Peter’s words and his life cohesively declared the same answer. And his response was firmly grounded on the side of a radical pursuit of righteousness, compassionate love for the lost, and sharing the God of second chances with everyone in his generation. I long for that in my own life.
So…who is Jesus Christ to you today? Now is the perfect time for a new beginning. I pray you find Him as Lord, King, Savior, and of course…Friend.