There is a saying that I have heard many times over the years and when I researched it, I found that it had first been traced back to an announcement from a Methodist church in an Iowa newspaper in 1926. But over the years it has been credited to a lot of different people with tiny changes in the verbiage. I am going to share the one credited to the U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall which he spoke in his opening prayer on April 18, 1946: “Our Father, we yearn for a better understanding of spiritual things, that we may know surely what Thy will is for us and for our Nation. Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for—because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” [Emphasis is from the article I quoted from]
The portion I want to zero in on are the last ten words – “unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”
We really need to learn how to make conscious decisions for our lives and not live on middle ground – no fence sitting allowed. Middle ground living and sitting on fences is not a healthy way to live. If we do not determine what is important in our lives and stand firmly for that, then when difficult times come along we may be easily misled and “fall for anything.” The very most important area of our life that this should apply to is our spiritual life.
“…the Bible doesn’t give us much information about a mediocre spirituality. It is always classifying people as either godly or ungodly, good or evil, holy or profane, saved or lost. In the Word, there is no middle ground.” (Chris Tiegreen – pg 203 in The One Year walk with God Devotional)
I would shudder to think that I could ever find myself opposing God. Jesus says in Matthew 12:30 (NLT): “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” So how do we actually oppose and work against God? One scripture that talks of this is Philippians 3:18-19 (NIV) where Paul says: “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.” So when we are too focused on just our physical needs and thinking about things are just really temporary (earthly things) we are setting ourselves up for attacks from our biggest enemy, Satan. He knows how to tempt us and makes it easy for us to “fall for anything.”
In 1 Kings 18:21a (MSG) says: “Elijah challenged the people: ‘How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!’” These verses make it very clear that middle ground and fence sitting are detrimental. Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 (NLT): “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
From a sermon called Stop Sitting On The Fence by Kenneth Sauer: “Do you find yourself caught between two worlds–the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world? Do you have a hard time making a commitment to following Christ? Are there just too many other things that get in the way? Do you feel as if you are never fully in and never fully out? In matters of faith, do you find yourself never really doubting, but never really devoted? Are you ‘hobbling back and forth’ between Jesus and some false god or gods? Again, are you sitting on the fence? The fence isn’t a very comfortable place to sit, in more ways than one. The fence is a place of procrastination. The fence is a place where nothing gets done. The fence is a waste of time, a waste of life.”
The thing that caught my attention the most in that was how the fence is a “place of procrastination.” Procrastination is a really bad habit that is very easy to fall into. We never know what tomorrow or next week, etc. holds for us, so continually putting things off – especially those things of importance – is a bad thing to do. James 4:14 (NLT) says: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” We have no assurances of our time here on earth. So when we have things that really need to be done – we should not stand on the middle ground or sit on a fence procrastinating. We need to just get it done.
Neither can we be lukewarm. In Revelations 3:15-16 (NLT) we see a message from God that says: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” He is asking for a commitment – one way or the other – making sure it is clear that being lukewarm (or living on the middle ground or sitting on the fence) will not end well for you.
God does not want to see us existing in indecision, “caught between two worlds,” letting things get in our way, allowing worldly things to take prominence in our lives. It is a “waste of our time, a waste of life.” God knows everything there is to know about us – what we think, what we say, what we do. We are not hiding anything from Him – and that should be enough motivation for us to get our lives moving, off that fence and onto the higher ground – committed to a better life.
If you have not already, please accept that you need God in your life. Tell him simply that you believe that Jesus is His Son, that He died to save you, that He rose from the dead; and, that you are sorry for all your sins and want to live a better life giving honor and glory to Him.
Then, turn on that hot water, jump off that fence and move into the left lane – truck down the highway of life with joy and expectations of eternal rewards.
Written by Karran Martin – July 22, 2020