For every faithful follower of Jesus there is a line over which you cannot and will not step . . . no matter the cost.
Often the line becomes clear when those in power attempt to coerce the conscience, convictions, and religious practices of those who follow Christ.
For instance, early in the book of Acts, the authorities in Jerusalem commanded the apostles to cease speaking in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18).
But the apostles could not and would not be silent. Though threatened, beaten, and imprisoned because of their commitment to Jesus and the gospel, the apostles declared: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, ESV).
Indeed, when punished because of their fidelity to Jesus, the apostles rejoiced that they were “counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41, ESV)
Of course, there was ample Old Testament precedent for the apostles principled stand.
For instance, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow before the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar erected on the plain of Dura. When threatened with the fiery furnace, they replied to the king:
“our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18, ESV).
In a similarly courageous manner, when he was forbidden to pray by an ordinance engineered by his enemies, Daniel chose the den of lions rather than diminish his devotion to God (cf. Daniel 6).
Quite clearly, these young men had convictions they were unwilling to abandon and lines they were unwilling to cross . . . even when their very life was threatened.
So what about you? Are you a follower of Christ? Are there lines you simply cannot and will not cross because Jesus is your Lord?
Given the erosion of religious liberty worldwide and the increasing antipathy in many cultures toward those whose ultimate devotion is to Jesus and his word, I will not be surprised if more of us are called on to define the line, defend the line, and refuse to cross the line . . . even at great personal and professional sacrifice.
God grant that we might be faithful, courageous, loving, and winsome witnesses as we follow Jesus Christ as Lord!
Your Pastor and Friend,