By: Kristen L. McNulty
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Lately I've been reminded of something. Sure, I've learned it many times before, but as CS Lewis once said: "people need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed."
So what was my reminder? That fences are places to divide, not places to reside. Let me repeat that: fences are places to divide, not places to reside. You see, everyone here on this earth either belongs in one place or the other. Sure we can cross over a fence when making a choice, but we can't remain there. Often its easy to believe the lie that we can jump from one side to another, but really we can't. Just by crossing over the wrong side of the fence, we're taking up residence there. Let me explain by using an example.
In my backyard sits an above ground swimming pool. In my neighbours backyard sits a garden. Both yards are divided by a five foot fence. Now let's say someone stumbles upon our two yards on a hot sunny day and the water in the pool looks very appealing. But while climbing upon the fence they see the food growing in my neighbours garden and since they are kind of hungry, that also looks appealing. The person teetering on the fence has a choice to make. Do they want to swim or do they want to eat? And while they could stand on the fence and debate the decision, sooner or later a decision is going to have to be made. No one can live on a fence for more than a few hours. I've never seen someone try to sleep ontop of a fence or try to eat a meal there. It just wouldn't work.
So in the end the person decides that the pool wins out over the food and jumps into the McNulty's backyard. They made a choice. They stepped onto our land and now are swimming in our pool. While there they can't reach our neighbours garden and try to eat from it. Whether they like it or not, they're in McNulty territory and as long as they remain in the pool, that's where they are going to be.
In the same way we all have a choice. The kingdom of God and satans set-up, sit side-by-side and we have to decide which one we're going to reside in. Satan tries to fool us into thinking that we don't have to make a choice, that we can have the best of both worlds, but that's impossible. Just like you can't reach my neighbours garden from the comfort of our swimming pool- you can't reach into the riches of the kingdom of God when you're immersed in sin. It just can't happen.
So a choice has to be made. If we're going to call ourselves followers of Christ, we can't be jumping from one side of the fence to another. We have to stay in the Kingdom. That means living consistently from Monday to Sunday. That means making the same choices of integrity in both public and in what is hidden. That means living every day a life that reflects Christ. Yes, those living in the kingdom will mess up from time to time, but the difference is they don't remain there.
Deuteronomy 6:5 says: "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength." That can't happen when we get caught up in a game of jumping from one side to another.
Revelation 3:15-16: "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!"
Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other."
You are either hot or cold. You are either living for the Kingdom or you are not. You are either following Jesus or you are not. It's a choice between one or the other and the choice that you make has implications on both today, and on the rest of your life. Today it's my prayer that we all make the right choice.
Following Jesus and living for the Kingdom isn't always easy, but it is always worth it. Because life with Jesus means joy found in the ordinary and opportunity to step out and do the extraordinary. It means peace in the troubled teams and a love that comforts the soul. It means strength to endure and faith to hold on. It means living life the way it was meant to be lived- walking day by day with our saviour.
Let's get off the fence!
This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.