When I was a child my mom would make my younger brother and I sit on our side of the car and keep our hands to ourselves. In the backseat of the car we would draw an invisible line and command each other not to cross it. Inevitably someone would stick their hand over the imaginary line and the other would shout, “Mom, __________ crossed the line!” Lines are very familiar to us as people, there are double yellow lines on roads, so people do not cross them and go into oncoming traffic; there are lines at department stores to keep people in the place they need to be until the cashier is prepared to serve them. Lines are so much a part of life that when we cross them, we usually know, because they are visible, but the invisible lines are the ones that we cross many times unknowingly.
A fine line is a thin demarcation between one thing and another. When someone crosses the line, it can be hard to identify for the one that crossed it, but the one that has been crossed can usually sense it immediately. Some of the fine lines that people cross and don’t realize until after they cross it include, but are not limited to:
- Passion —————– Anger
- Boundaries —————- Walls
- Order ———————-Control
- Correction —————- Character Assault
- Intimacy ——————– Idolatry
Passion can crossover into anger; boundaries can feel a lot like walls; order can seem like you are being controlled; correction can cross into character assaults; and intimacy can become idolatry if we are not careful. Many of us can think of other fine lines that if we are not careful we can cross in our relationships with other people. We are living in a world that does not recognize the difference between passion and anger; boundaries and walls; order and control; correction and character assault; or intimacy and idolatry. The lines have become so blurred that we demand people conform to us, rather than us adhering to them.
When a Samaritan village refused to accept Jesus, James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples said, do you want us to call down fire on them, like Elijah did? Jesus said, you do not know what spirit you are of! (Luke 9:51-55) Many people do not know what spirit they are of, so they are crossing lines from passion into anger or correction into character assault, not because they meant to, but because they do not discern the spirit they are of. There are invisible lines being crossed in the spirit by many Christians, because the love of many is growing cold, due to the increase of lawlessness (Matthew 24).
We need to discern ourselves more today than ever, has our passion crossed over into anger? Have the boundaries we set, turned into walls? Have we become controlling of others and yet we call it just keeping order? Have we spoke a word of correction that was actually a character assault? Have we entered into an intimate relationship and now it has become an idol? We must discern what spirit we are of, for in the world in which we live, the spirit of anti-Christ will push you over the line and you will not even recognize it, because there are so many fine lines.